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Kris, E. (1951). Ego Psychology and Interpretation in Psychoanalytic Therapy. Psychoanal Q., 20:15-30.

(1951). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 20:15-30

Ego Psychology and Interpretation in Psychoanalytic Therapy

Ernst Kris, Ph.D.

While during half a century of its history the development of psychoanalysis has been comparatively little influenced by simultaneous discoveries in other fields of science, the various applications of psychoanalysis have almost continuously influenced each other. It is in this sense that the history of psychoanalysis can be viewed as a progressive integration of hypotheses. The clearest interrelationship exists between clinical observations and the development of both psychoanalytic technique and theory (23), (24). The development of the structural point of view in psychoanalysis, i.e., the development of psychoanalytic ego psychology, can profitably be traced in terms of such an interdependence. Freud was at one point influenced by his collaborators in Zürich who impelled him to an intensified interest in the psychoses. This led him to formulate the concept of narcissism and thus to approach the ego not as a series of isolated functions but as a psychic organization. The second group of clinical impressions that favored the development of a structural psychology was the observation by Freud of individuals motivated by an unconscious sense of guilt, and of patients whose response to treatment was a negative therapeutic reaction. These types of behavior reinforced his conception of the unconscious nature of self-reproaches and autopunitive tendencies, and thus contributed to the recognition of important characteristics of the superego.

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