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Kitay, P.M. (1963). Summary. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 44:222-223.

(1963). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 44:222-223


Philip M. Kitay

In contrast with the six blind men of Hindustan grasping different parts of a living elephant and obstinately disagreeing about its configuration, we have on this panel four insightful men, three from New York and one from Texas, with individuality of apperceptive background and set, arriving at very similar conclusions upon examining the long-since departed Schreber. The conclusions arrived at were more frequently shared than unique. The panelists all cogently pursued psychodynamic and functionalist formulations, searching for greater specificity in the exposition of the origins and significance of symptoms. All expressed the Freudian 'Geist' in their dedication to psychodynamic explanations. If they found fault with Freud, it was mainly that Freud did not push his own principle of dynamic formulation far enough and broadly enough. But it has to be remembered that Freud himself, as Niederland repeatedly reminded us, spoke of his 'policy of restraint' in interpreting the Schreber case and accordingly refrained consciously from interpreting all its aspects.

The classical Freudian interpretation of paranoia and of the Schreber case was viewed as giving initially insufficient recognition to the importance of hostile destructive drives. Indeed, in later works Freud (1922), (1923) spoke of such hostile destructive elements, especially in the early sibling relation, as important components in paranoid or paranoiacally tinged formations. The panelists also acknowledged that Schreber's conflicts with his mother were very influential in the etiology of his illness.

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