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Brenner, C. (1994). The Mind as Conflict and Compromise Formation. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 3(4):473-488.

(1994). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 3(4):473-488

The Mind as Conflict and Compromise Formation Related Papers

Charles Brenner, M.D.

At the time my medical education began the structural theory was in its infancy. Fewer than ten years had passed since the publication of “The Ego and the Id” (1923) and the application to clinical work of the ideas contained in it and in “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety(1926) had barely begun to be felt even in Vienna and Berlin, let alone in the United States. The contributions of Alexander, Fenichel, A. Freud, Hartmann, Kris, and Waelder to ego analysis were still in the future. For most analysts it was to be years before defense was thought of in any terms other than repression. Despite what Freud had so recently written, neurotic anxiety was still thought to be repressed libido that had gone bad rather than a signal for defense. The topographic theory held sway in the minds of most of the leaders in the field of analysis and it continued to do so for many years.

The superiority of the structural theory to its predecessor was easily apparent, however, to those like myself who were new to the field and who had the good fortune to be able to learn from the eminent teachers who had fled to our shores from the political convulsions that engulfed Europe in the thirties and forties. We grew up with the structural theory. We learned early the relation between defense and signal anxiety and that defenses are to be analyzed. I said, early, but perhaps that is an exaggeration.

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