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Zellner, M. (2013). Where Ego was, There Id Shall Be? Some Implications of the “Conscious Id” for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):76-79.

(2013). Neuropsychoanalysis, 15(1):76-79

Where Ego was, There Id Shall Be? Some Implications of the “Conscious Id” for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Related Papers

Commentary by Maggie Zellner

Mark Solms's perspective on the “conscious id” posits that brainstem nuclei and cortex can be mapped, in broad brush strokes, to subject and object: brainstem nuclei mediate the core experience of being, where perception, emotion, and action are integrated at a primal level, while the cortex elaborates on representations of the contents of consciousness. In this commentary, I expand on some of the intrapsychic implications of this distinction, particularly the dynamics of disproportionately perceiving oneself as an object (seeing one's self through the eyes of the other), at the expense of experiencing being a subject, and seeing the world from one's own perspective. Solms also correlates the activity of cortical circuits that mediate learning, predicting, and automating procedures with ego functions that serve to constrain primary consciousness. I discuss some of the implications of this perspective for psychodynamic treatment, which aims to update certain maladaptive processes by bringing affective awareness to previously automated processes.

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