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Krasner, R.F. (1983). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XVII, 1981: When Does Need Become Desire and Desire Need? Paul G. Myerson. Pp. 607-625.. Psychoanal Q., 52:654-655.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XVII, 1981: When Does Need Become Desire and Desire Need? Paul G. Myerson. Pp. 607-625.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:654-655

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XVII, 1981: When Does Need Become Desire and Desire Need? Paul G. Myerson. Pp. 607-625.

Ronald F. Krasner

By employing the term "need" to represent a developmental defect and "desire" to represent a structural conflict, Myerson attempts to clarify some differences

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between classical psychoanalysis and self psychology. After elaborating on the distinctions between needs and desires, Myerson adds that the therapist's response to the material determines whether "something" becomes a need or desire. "However, I have indicated that the therapeutic process itself is in large measure shaped by the therapist's response, by whether he labels and responds to his patient's behavior as a need or as a desire." A brief discussion of the genetic aspects of needs and desires follows. The author concludes that "the shift from needs from to desire for is indicative of biological maturation, but the quality and character of the shift is influenced in a significant way by how the child's various needs are met by his parents." The way the therapist/analyst meets the patients' needs, or makes them more aware of their desires and anger, is a consequence of the preceding genetic formulation. These issues are illustrated in a very brief clinical vignette wherein the therapist's belief that she was observing manifestations of the patient's needs was incorrect. Myerson points out that because of this she was unable to interpret the conflictual aspects of his desire.

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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1983). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XVII, 1981. Psychoanal. Q., 52:654-655

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