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Fenichel, O. (1943). Some Reflections on Psychodynamics: Ignacio Matte Blanco. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 253–279.. Psychoanal Q., 12:291-292.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Some Reflections on Psychodynamics: Ignacio Matte Blanco. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 253–279.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:291-292

Some Reflections on Psychodynamics: Ignacio Matte Blanco. Int. J. Psa., XXI, 1940, pp. 253–279.

Otto Fenichel

In this paper Blanco tries to clarify the dynamic relations which form the basis of neurotic conflict, symptom formation and psychoanalytic therapy. He uses this opportunity for a discussion of certain related problems and unclear details. We should be very grateful for such an attempt because of the confusion in the literature on this subject.

Against the id impulses, striving for discharge, counterforces of the ego are developed. Their effect is to change either the direction or the aims of the instinct, 'taming', 'canalization', or to block the discharge entirely. Blanco is of the opinion that these counterforces may sometimes be biological in nature. In certain respects these defensive measures can be looked upon less as measures to hinder discharge, than as measures to make a substitute discharge possible under adverse circumstances. That is especially true for 'normal' defenses. 'The difference between a normal and a neurotic individual lies, not in the absence of the defensive system, but in its mode of functioning.' Neurotic

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defenses are rigid and stereotyped. As a rule they are characterized by regression. The ego is deprived of its satisfaction by them, though the 'id and the superego always find discharge of their tension, even if this necessitates the complete wreckage of the ego'. It is true, Blanco adds, that in certain neurotic situations 'the id energy cannot empty itself in its totality through the systems of defense mechanism', but this is not always so.

How does the psychoanalytic therapy work? Its task is to find other and better methods of discharge. I would like to add that the author fails to state that this is essentially done by undoing the pathological defenses, thus changing infantile into adult sexuality, which can be satisfied. Instead he discusses effect pathways of a secondary or accessory nature such as the ways in which the 'transference neurosis' blocks habitual discharge pathways and opens new ones. He discusses anxiety at length and formulates it in this interesting way: 'Anxiety would be similar to the surplus of energy of chemical reactions which is changed into heat. Anxiety would be the heat of the mind.' He also describes neurotic acting out, working through, and finally the 'making conscious' which occurs in the psychoanalytic cure. Blanco explains two different effects of interpretation, that on the intellect by means of which insight into the unconscious significance of an impulse changes the impulse and that on the superego which is evinced in the feeling that the analyst tolerates the interpreted impulse. The verbalization of repressed material is in itself a relieving discharge.

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Article Citation

Fenichel, O. (1943). Some Reflections on Psychodynamics. Psychoanal. Q., 12:291-292

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