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London, N.J. (1973). An Essay on Psychoanalytic Theory: Two Theories of Schizophrenia. Part II: Discussion and Restatement of the Specific Theory of Schizophrenia. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 54:179-193.

(1973). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 54:179-193

An Essay on Psychoanalytic Theory: Two Theories of Schizophrenia. Part II: Discussion and Restatement of the Specific Theory of Schizophrenia

Nathaniel J. London

In Part I of this essay (London, 1973), I surveyed Freud's Classical Theory of schizophrenia to show that it may be separated into two theories. These two theories have been developed as the main psychoanalytic theories of schizophrenia today. The Unitary Theory, as I have termed it, emphasizes a continuity between schizophrenia and neuroses, both viewed as intrapsychically motivated or purposive behaviours determined by instinctual drives and defences. Within the Unitary Theory, 'decathexis' refers to the defensive process, disturbances in 'reality' are considered defensively motivated by means of the mechanism 'disavowal', and transference in schizophrenia is considered fundamentally the same as in neuroses. Freud developed and favoured the Unitary Theory in order to provide a unified psychoanalytic theory for neuroses and psychoses. I maintained that this theory has failed to provide a satisfactory research strategy for schizophrenia, precisely because it is orientated more toward a unified and cohesive psychoanalytic theory than toward the unique phenomena of schizophrenic behaviours. I supported this assertion in a critical assessment of the roles assigned by the Unitary Theory to instinctual drives, anxiety and defence as primary determiners of schizophrenic behaviours.

What I have termed the Specific Theory emphasizes schizophrenic behaviours as unique psychological deficiency states. The focal point for the psychological deficiency, first described by Freud as an 'internal catastrophe' and later as libidinal withdrawal from the 'unconscious presentation of the object', is described in contemporary language as 'decathexis of the mental representations of objects'.

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