Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To save articles in ePub format for your eBook reader…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To save an article in ePub format, look for the ePub reader icon above all articles for logged in users, and click it to quickly save the article, which is automatically downloaded to your computer or device.  (There may be times when due to font sizes and other original formatting, the page may overflow onto a second page.).

You can also easily save to PDF format, a journal like printed format.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Apfelbaum, B. (1965). Ego Psychology, Psychic Energy, and the Hazards of Quantitative Explanation in Psycho-Analytic Theory. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 46:168-182.

(1965). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 46:168-182

Ego Psychology, Psychic Energy, and the Hazards of Quantitative Explanation in Psycho-Analytic Theory

Bernard Apfelbaum

It may be fair to say that the many reconsiderations of Freud's energy conceptions have not really affected the way they are currently used. Partly this is because such reconsiderations have been on the philosophical and physiological levels, not touching the clinical framework in which these energy conceptions are anchored. The apparent immunity of these conceptions may also be a consequence of the principle in psycho-analytic theory that a number of different approaches are required to explain psychic activity. Accordingly, the economic approach, as the embodiment of Freud's energy conceptions, is to be used in conjunction with other approaches—dynamic, structural, genetic, etc. Any one approach is expected to be insufficient if used alone. To point out the deficiencies of the economic approach then merely appears to confirm this expectation; the assumption is that where one approach is deficient it will be supplemented by another. Further, since psychic activity is so complex and exists on so many levels, it can seem unreasonable to eliminate an approach, much as if anatomy were to be dropped in favour of physiology. The present paper presents the view that this easy toleration of different kinds of explanation, though in many ways advantageous, may obscure different, even competing, philosophies.

In a recent panel on the concept of psychic energy, as reported by Modell (1963), Kubie criticized the economic approach, asserting that quantitative explanations offer only descriptions of behaviour in metaphorical terms.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.