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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Will and Psychoanalysis. Allen Wheelis. Pp. 285-303.. Psychoanal Q., 29:134-135.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Will and Psychoanalysis. Allen Wheelis. Pp. 285-303.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:134-135

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Will and Psychoanalysis. Allen Wheelis. Pp. 285-303.

From the chain of causality leading to character change, Wheelis abstracts the following elements: conflict to insight, insight to will, will to action, action to character change. Will is as fully determined as any other mental function. He

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differentiates an intentional act (conflict-free area of the ego) from will, defined as a product of conflict, drive motivated, and consisting of ego sanctioning and ego re-enforcing of a vector drive. This is a compromise formation which allows partial fulfilment and requires partial renunciation. Will and insight must both be present for character change. Where insight is distorted in a fixed way, will may be put into the service of a false insight. Where will is not variable but has developed to a normal state, insight is the relevant mutative factor; but where will is inhibited or not developed, no amount of insight will lead to character change.

All this is not confined to the analytic situation. However, 'as a technique of treatment … focus on insight is appropriate and is the distinguishing feature of psychoanalysis'. But it is not appropriate to exclude will from the body of psychoanalytic theory. Wheelis also warns against attitudes in the analyst that tend to weaken will in the patient. Will is often used by the patient for resistance, yet it is nonetheless important to distinguish this resistance from use of will to solve a conflict that has become clear.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956. Psychoanal. Q., 29:134-135

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