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Dreyfuss, D.K. (1947). Ego Hunger and Aggression: A Revision of Freud's Theory and Method. By F. S. Perls. (Allen & Unwin, London. Pp. 373.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:201-204.

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:201-204

Ego Hunger and Aggression: A Revision of Freud's Theory and Method. By F. S. Perls. (Allen & Unwin, London. Pp. 373.)

Review by:
Daniel K. Dreyfuss

Perls' book, a contribution to the psychology of total personality dedicated to the memory of Max Wertheimer, is a most profound study and of interest from many points of view. It combines the abstract philosophical approach of gestalt-psychology with the empiric system of terms of psycho-analysis, as far as the latter seems to be acceptable to the author. By his 'revision' Perls intends:

a. to replace the psychological by an organismic concept;

b. to replace association psychology by gestalt-psychology; and

c. to apply differential thinking based upon S. Friedlaender's Creative Indifference (p. 14).

The first part of the book, 'Holism and Psycho-Analysis', represents 'Collegium logicum'. The author shows how 'by the use of the new intellectual tools of holism (field conception) and semantics (the meaning of meaning) our theoretical outlook can now be tremendously improved'. As a short review cannot hope to present those ideas satisfactorily we would refer to the original.

In his concept of the ego the author shows his close relation to Adler's Individual Psychology. Consequently no more than a few unimportant rudiments of Freud's fundamental conception of the unconscious remain. Neurotic symptoms are not conceived as the product of a conflict between the ego and the unconscious. The conflict is located in different parts of the ego. The dualism of the psycho-analytic conception is replaced by the idea of figure background formation, which is so meaningful in gestalt-psychology.

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