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Freeman, T. (1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Ernst Kris. 'The Personal Myth: A Problem in Psychoanalytic Technique.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:433-434.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Ernst Kris. 'The Personal Myth: A Problem in Psychoanalytic Technique.'

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:433-434

Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4: Ernst Kris. 'The Personal Myth: A Problem in Psychoanalytic Technique.'

Thomas Freeman

Excerpts from the analyses of three patients are presented in this paper to illustrate why in certain

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cases the personal history assumes the importance of a treasured possession. Such autobiographies have a double function. They are defensive inasmuch as they prevent wishes and affects from becoming conscious. They are also heir to important phantasies of early childhood. The repressed phantasy is a variation of the 'family romance'.

In the latter part of the paper the obsessional quality of the patients is referred to. Those features of the personality arising from anal-sadistic trends are outlined. The author then discusses the prematurity of ego development which is assumed to be characteristic of obsessional neurotics. Kris points out that it is not only prohibitions which are internalized in early childhood. It is his impression that the first noticeable manifestation of prematurity of all ego functions related to internalization is originally linked to the early development of memory. The matrix of the memory function is the re-finding of the needed and later beloved object. Memory functions can be distinguished according to their degree of autonomy. One set, with high autonomy, are those concerned with the ability to acquire, retain, and recall. A memory function with low autonomy is that concerned with the self, i.e. autobiographical memories. The usefulness of this distinction is illustrated by the selective character of the infantile amnesia. It (the amnesia) includes the experiences of the self, but does not include the impact of reality testing, skills, conceptualization or information acquired during the same period of time. Where the self is concerned, where memory is autobiographical, autonomy in the broadest sense is never fully achieved, distorting influences never cease to play their part, and recollections remain connected with needs and affects.

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Article Citation

Freeman, T. (1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 4. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:433-434

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