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(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 2: Allen Wheelis. 'Will and Psycho-Analysis.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:136.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 2: Allen Wheelis. 'Will and Psycho-Analysis.'

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:136

Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 2: Allen Wheelis. 'Will and Psycho-Analysis.'

The gist of this paper is a re-examination of the concept of will in the light of psycho-analytic theory and practice. Current psycho-analytic theory underrates the rôle of will in bringing about therapeutic change. While the development of insight is an essential step along the road to mental health, alone it can achieve nothing. Will is necessary to translate insight into action. The author believes it wrong to assume that the unaided efforts of the psychoneurotic patient are always and necessarily ineffective. Much of psycho-analytic opposition to the concept of will derives not from ideas of the impotence of will but from its appearance as resistance. It must not be overlooked that the acquisition of insight may act as an obstacle to will and action.

A true appreciation of the rôle of will does not imply that the analyst should direct his attention towards anything other than the achievement of the maximum of understanding of his patient and the transmission of this understanding by interpretation. The paper ends by listing a number of positive implications once the value and rôle of will in treatment is recognized. There is a plea for discrimination on the part of the analyst when he is confronted with acts of will; not all actions should be criticized as 'acting out'. While some acts of will must be described as resistance others can be adaptive and problem-solving.

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Article Citation

(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 2. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:136

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