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Freud, W.E. (1968). Some General Reflections on the Metapsychological Profile. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:498-501.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:498-501

Some General Reflections on the Metapsychological Profile

W. Ernest Freud

The Profile, originally drafted by Anna Freud (1962), is a method for assessment of the personality. The impetus for its creation arose largely from disappointment with the average case conference where, in the absence of a guiding systematic framework, some particularly bizarre or otherwise interesting feature, like a symptom, would engage the interest of discussants on the basis of their having seen one or more similar cases before. Other equally important aspects would remain unexplored and the whole rarely provided sound baseline data for further research.

One's first reaction to the profile (A. Freud, 1962), (1963), (1965); (Nagera and Bolland, 1965) may well be a mixture of awe for its time-consuming comprehensiveness, a recognition of familiarity with its subsections, and a decided feeling that it is probably yet another rigid form-filling procedure of which one had better steer clear.

These impressions prove more or less deceptive on closer acquaintance.

i. As regards the time it takes to make a profile, the initial impression has proved least deceptive. I would like to see spectacular progress in this area, but so far no short-cut to thinking has been found. By achieving more the profile also demands more, since it is no longer enough to dispose of cases by allocating them to diagnostic categories. The profile-maker, while being generally oriented towards feeding clinical material into the metapsychological framework of the profile is simultaneously using other dimensions to pinpoint observations and impressions.

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