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Joseph, E.D. (1973). Aggression Redefined—Its Adaptational Aspects. Psychoanal Q., 42:197-213.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:197-213

Aggression Redefined—Its Adaptational Aspects

Edward D. Joseph, M.D.

SUMMARY

This paper represents an attempt to broaden the definition of the concept of aggression to include behavior and activities, mental or otherwise, which are more than destructive or harmful to others. Using the original definition and etymology of the word aggression, an effort has been made to include all forceful behavior and activities that involve approaches to or going toward an object. Clinical examples have been cited to demonstrate this, and various ego functions and other phenomena of a developmental and more mature nature have been

described. It is true that analysts often ignore the more conflict-free activities of the patient and concentrate on those involved in conflict, which produce trouble and difficulty for the patient. To the extent that psychoanalytic psychology and understanding of human behavior can be more comprehensive, it is possible to study activities of a less conflictual nature.

This effort to expand the area of aggressive manifestations from destructive aspects only to a wider range of phenomena, if successful, would lead to what Anna Freud (1972) called considerations of the manifestations of aggressivity, regardless of the form, at all levels of human development.

Finally, nonhostile, nondestructive thought can be a useful channel of aggressive behavior in the broader sense of the term, aggression, and certainly one that leads to important adaptations in the interrelationships between an individual, the objects in his environment, and the total environment. It allows for the sort of changes in his environment that make an alloplastic modification of the outside reality in which an individual exists.

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