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Weiss, E. (1957). A Comparative Study of Psycho-Analytical Ego Concepts. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:209-222.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:209-222

A Comparative Study of Psycho-Analytical Ego Concepts

Edoardo Weiss

The pre-analytical concept of the ego did not aid in the understanding of normal and pathological psychodynamics. It was Freud's discovery and study of the unconscious that paved the way towards the comprehension of the ego, which was no longer considered the only field of mental phenomena. Only through the comprehension of its relation to the id and the external world could its functions and disturbances be understood. And it was Freud himself who formulated the first theories of the ego as it could be analytically conceived.

The difficulties we encounter in our attempts to compare the concepts and formulations of Freud with those of Federn and other analysts are due to many factors. Freud's ego-psychological and metapsychological concepts developed slowly in the course of his investigations and often had to be modified in the light of the new insights he was progressively gaining. These modifications, however, were not always applied to the whole structure of the previously formulated ego-psychological concepts. Therefore some quotations from his earlier may be at variance with some of his later writings. Again, there is no agreement among analysts on the use of certain terms. Sometimes the same word is used by different authors to indicate different concepts, and conversely the same concepts are often indicated by different terms.

I must also mention another slight source of confusion which we meet with in our efforts to compare Freud's ego-psychological concepts with those of Federn.

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