Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To report problems to PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Help us improve PEP Web. If you find any problem, click the Report a Problem link located at the bottom right corner of the website.

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

Morgenthaler, F. (1966). Psychodynamic Aspects of Defence with Comments on Technique in the Treatment of Obsessional Neuroses. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:203-209.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:203-209

Psychodynamic Aspects of Defence with Comments on Technique in the Treatment of Obsessional Neuroses

F. Morgenthaler

As soon as an analysis has got under way, the 'defence habits' (A. Freud, 1936) of the patient begin to reveal themselves with ever-increasing clarity. The analyst feels that he is slowly but surely getting better acquainted with the person he is analysing. The most important traits of the personality to which he has attuned himself right from the start stem from defences and not from the drives. It gradually becomes clearer that specific mechanisms of defence are given preference and that these mechanisms make their appearance in a manner and sequence more or less characteristic of the person concerned (Freud, 1937).

The development of the libido, with its various phases, genetically determined, proceeds in accordance with laws that are valid for mankind as a whole, whereas the features one observes in the development of the defensive organization do not seem to follow similar laws (Hoffer, 1954). The formation of the defensive organization appears to be individually specific. Even though it is difficult to speak in metapsychological terms of a hierarchical structure of the defensive organization and explain it genetically, we can—from the clinical side—nevertheless assume that the defensive organization in the ego is structured in this manner. The defensive organization shows a relatively high degree of stability and it is useful to speak of a defence structure that represents part of the ego structure as a whole.

Analytical experience shows that the stability of defences is not only demonstrable in the case of the psychically healthy person where the defences have succeeded, but even in the case of the neurotic person where they have partially failed to perform their function.

[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 © 2020, 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.