Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To report problems to PEP-Web…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Help us improve PEP Web. If you find any problem, click the Report a Problem link located at the bottom right corner of the website.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Waelder, R. (1967). Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety: Forty Years Later. Psychoanal Q., 36:1-36.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:1-36

Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety: Forty Years Later

Robert Waelder, Ph.D.


This, then, is the rough balance sheet. Equality of id and ego have long become part and parcel of psychoanalytic thought and psychoanalysts try to distinguish between drive and ego aspect in various psychic activities, without much thought that it could be otherwise. All the time, however, whether teleological concepts are ultimately satisfactory remains in doubt as it always has been and, I am afraid, is likely to remain.

Id and ego are handled today in a more schematic fashion than Freud had intended them to be. The revision of the theory of (neurotic) anxiety and the realization of a variety of defense

mechanisms have borne rich fruit and have changed the outlook and the practice of psychoanalysis. The attempt to construct a unified theory of anxiety, encompassing both anxiety as a consequence of dammed-up libido and anxiety as a signal in danger, has not been successful, and most analysts do not feel a need for such a unified theory in the first place because they do not believe in the existence of the first type of anxiety. However, there seem to be relations between anxiety, or at least its more pathological manifestations, and sexuality, and the theory should give an account of these relations; the concept of sexualized anxiety, developed later, is an important contribution in this direction but does not, in my opinion, exhaust the subject of the relations between anxiety and sexuality.

On a number of other points, Freud's ideas have been quietly accepted and become noncontroversial parts of the clinical theory of psychoanalysis. I would mention in this group the theory of inhibitions as due either to a sexualization of an ego function or to a need for self-punishment or to a general impoverishment through absorption by an inner process. There are also points in which Freud's suggestions have as yet not been given sufficient thought; I would mention among them the role of countercathexis in pain, both physical and mental.

[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 © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.