Login
Ross, N. (1949). The Battle of the Conscience. A Psychiatric Study of the Inner Working of the Conscience: By Edmund Bergler, M.D. Washington: Washington Institute of Medicine, 1948. 296 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:368-370.

Welcome to PEP Web!

Viewing the full text of this document requires a subscription to PEP Web.

If you are coming in from a university from a registered IP address or secure referral page you should not need to log in. Contact your university librarian in the event of problems.

If you have a personal subscription on your own account or through a Society or Institute please put your username and password in the box below. Any difficulties should be reported to your group administrator.

Username:
Password:

Can't remember your username and/or password? If you have forgotten your username and/or password please click here and log in to the PaDS database. Once there you need to fill in your email address (this must be the email address that PEP has on record for you) and click "Send." Your username and password will be sent to this email address within a few minutes. If this does not work for you please contact your group organizer.

Athens or federation user? Login here.

Not already a subscriber? Order a subscription today.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:368-370

The Battle of the Conscience. A Psychiatric Study of the Inner Working of the Conscience: By Edmund Bergler, M.D. Washington: Washington Institute of Medicine, 1948. 296 pp.

Nathaniel Ross Author Information

It is difficult to believe that Dr. Bergler meant to address this book to the general public, yet there is much evidence throughout that this was his intention. To understand the clinical complexities and elaborate metapsychological concepts of which he writes requires the background of an advanced analyst. This is a technical

- 368 -

book, technically worded despite the admirable literary allusions. It is strong meat, hardly digestible by the most intelligent layman.

Dr. Bergler's powers of observation are acute, and not a little overwhelming. He is an indefatigable collector of variations on a clinical theme. Thus, and I quote, 'having been interested in the problem of hypocrisy for a long time, I collected a great variety of types, fifty-one to be exact'. Other lists abound, but somehow they all get reduced to the same formula, the author's well-known 'three-layer structure of every neurotic symptom'. These layers are, '1, wish to be mistreated, counteracted by a superego reproach; 2, first defense mechanism of pseudo aggression; 3, rejection of the defense'.

For the last few years, papers have appeared by Bergler describing a large variety of psychological phenomena, from habitual smoking to homosexuality, as characterized by this three-layer structure. I cannot help being suspicious of a hypothesis which professes to explain so much. No psychological theory can be valid which makes all personalities look alike. Adler fell afoul of this vast monotony, and despite

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2014, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing. Help | About | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Problem

WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.