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Meyers, H. (1994). Discussion. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 3(2):214-220.

(1994). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 3(2):214-220

Discussion Related Papers

Helen Meyers, M.D.

It is a new experience to be discussing only the second half of a presentation, and I feel at some disadvantage in not having heard Dr. Milrod's discussion of the first half. But I do have some familiarity with Dr. Milrod's thinking, having discussed his fine paper on the ego ideal some years back, and, of course, I did read both parts of Dr. Hoffman's paper.

I was very pleased with Dr. Hoffman's paper because it is such an important subject and it is so full of thought and clinical material, so well written, and clearly organized. Also, it isn't often that one has the opportunity to hear the result of three years of deliberation by so many thoughtful analysts, putting their heads and experience together, presented in such an integrated, yet selective and detailed way. I am pleased that so many issues were addressed and serious questions raised, questions which might not have been raised before, such as about the importance of preoedipal factors, male — female differences and equalities, multiple functions of masochism such as its “appeal function,” the loving as well as punitive functions of the superego, and the formation of the superego, from various identifications plus other sources. While some of this is not new to some of us, it is refreshing and reassuring to have these issues seriously discussed and clinically documented. Unfortunately, I will be able to touch only on some of the issues and, I fear, this only briefly and superficially.

I agree with the Study Group that clinically one cannot distinguish superego analysis from defense analysis of other aspects of conflict, unless superego demands are themselves defended against. Furthermore, I believe, with Paul Gray, that the therapeutic action lies in the analysis of superego issues as part of resistance and character analysis, not in Strachey's transmuting internalization (Kohut's term) of the analyst's more benign superego.

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