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(1986). Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 55:207.

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(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:207

Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society


Dr. Pfeffer described, illustrated, and explained nine modes of obsessional thinking. They are magical thinking, doubting and indecision, digression, rambling, circumstantiality, procrastination, retraction, repetitiousness, and rumination. The essential conflicts involved in these modes of obsessional thinking include the positive and negative oedipus complexes and regression to anal sadism. The superegoid conflicts are intense, and in these conflicts the ego especially uses typical modes of obsessional thinking. These defensive measures effect an avoidance of affects and their associated impulses. Also, these modes of obsessional thinking constitute significant resistances in regard to the basic rule as expressed in free association. The analysand may experience the basic rule as controlling, which becomes connected with toilet training; the thinking process, in part, represents the process of defecation, and thoughts represent feces. In this connection, anal-sadistic superego conflicts and varieties of obsessional thinking are aroused in the transference.

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