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Katan, M. (1958). Contribution to the Panel on Ego-Distortion ('As-If' and 'Pseudo As-If'). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 39:265-270.

(1958). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 39:265-270

Contribution to the Panel on Ego-Distortion ('As-If' and 'Pseudo As-If')

M. Katan, M.D.

In considering the problem of how to define an ego-distortion, it seems to me that we should try to differentiate this reaction from the ego's reaction in normal, neurotic, and borderline states. After stating that the ego-distortion is a defect, we shall want to point out next that the ego-distortion is a fixation. It is a reaction to a certain conflict in an early stage of its development, before the superego is formed. This reaction was never abandoned in favour of a more adequate reaction during the further growth of the ego. At least in general we may say that the ego-distortion is not a late appearance under the influence of a regressive process.

In order to distinguish the ego-distortion from a reaction leading to a neurotic symptom, we shall want to examine the relation of the distortion to an ego-defence. In my opinion, a distortion does not start as a defence. Traumatic influences prevent a part of the ego from developing further; this in principle is not a defence. Yet immediately it becomes clear that secondarily the ego may incorporate its distortion into its defensive system, a point that I will try to illustrate later. Thus it may happen, on the one hand, that an ego-distortion is so prevalent in the ego's behaviour that the whole case may be diagnosed as a special entity, such as the 'as-if' personality, for instance. On the other hand, in the majority of cases, as a result of the use of distortion by the defensive process, we find the distortions to a great extent embedded in the neurosis.

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