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Wolfenstein, E.V. (1985). Three Principles of Mental Functioning in Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:77-94.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:77-94

Three Principles of Mental Functioning in Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice

Eugene Victor Wolfenstein


In this essay I have reformulated the relationship of the pleasure principle, reality principle, and Nirvana principle. I have linked this conception of the three principles of mental functioning to the idea of the paranoid-schizoid position. And I have attempted to demonstrate the utility of these various notions for illuminating the analyst's sleepiness during analytic sessions.

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