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Grinberg De Ekboir, J. Lichtmann, A. (1982). Genuine Self-Analysis is Impossible. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:75-83.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:75-83

Genuine Self-Analysis is Impossible

Julia Grinberg De Ekboir and Ana Lichtmann


Is self-analysis—that is of the kind Freud undertook—at all possible? When we consider its post-analytic feasibility are we thinking of Freud's model or are we using the same term for different processes and situations?

After a review of Freud's opinions regarding self-analysis, a short review of the psychoanalytic literature about Freud's self-analysis and some contributions about self-analysis, the authors discuss this issue with clinical illustrations.

They conclude by asserting that:

Freud's self-analysis is not repeatable at all. What is today considered post-analytic self-analysis consists of a process of introspection which does not coincide with psychoanalysis proper. In introspection only preconscious contents are involved.

Self-analysis constitutes a partial aspect of the post-analytic working through process. Its scope and limitations are determined by what was analysed and worked through during the course of the analytic process.

There is a difference between the therapeutic effect of the post-analytic working through and self-analysis proper. The latter may be as much at the service of understanding conflicting situations in its new editions, as at the service of resistance. In this last instance it reveals the reactivation of basic conflicts insufficiently worked through.

No new insights may be achieved by self-analysis because the lifting of repressions, as much as the integration of split off parts of the ego involve unconscious processes which it is not possible to resolve without the presence of the specific interlocutor, namely the analyst in the analytic situation.

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