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Nininger, E. (1960). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 29:604-605.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:604-605

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Eugene Nininger

DISCUSSION: Dr. Max Schur questioned the dismissal of phylogenesis from the concept of regression. He quoted a 1919 footnote of Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams, and suggested that most of Freud's phylogenetic formulations could be reformulated in terms of selective evolution. The recognition of the intrinsic origin of instinctual drives freed psychoanalysis from its originally purely environmental orientation. Ego psychology as we know it today became possible because Hartmann, following Freud's Analysis Terminable and Interminable, recognized the intrinsic origin of certain ego functions. The work of Schneirla, Maier, and others traces development from simple tropism to inherently rigid instinctive behavior and from there to the increasing plasticity and widening range of ontogenesis in mammals, a development reaching its peak in ego psychology. In man we can see the interlocking of rigid, instinctive behavior with adaptive, plastic, autonomous functions. Viewed against this framework, repetition compulsion, for example, can be seen as a regression to a phylogenetically older, instinctive, rigid type of behavior.

Dr. Rudolph Loewenstein agreed that the structural theory was an advance over the topographic one but questioned whether the latter could be dispensed with in all cases. The diagram in Chapter VII of The Interpretation of Dreams lends itself to conditions of man in sleep, while the diagram of the structural theory is not apt in representing dream formation.

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