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Friedman, L. (1989). Hartmann's "Ego Psychology and the Problem of Adaptation". Psychoanal Q., 58:526-550.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:526-550

Hartmann's "Ego Psychology and the Problem of Adaptation"

Lawrence Friedman, M.D.


Hartmann's monograph is an argument for the problem-solving value of all aspects of the mind and for the subordination of intelligence to the organism's larger, primarily social purposes. Hartmann proposed that, in psychoanalytic treatment, intelligent reflection serves one's largest purposes by taking respectful account of non-rational but adaptive ways of appraising reality, with a view toward making the best use of non-rational as well as rational propensities. He regarded it as the kind of thinking that the sociologist, Karl Mannheim, had recommended to government planners faced with immensely complicated, incompletely masterable forces. Hartmann's view of the role of the intellect in analytic treatment suggests that therapists should maintain both their demand for intelligent reflection and their hopefulness about other kinds of work that may be going on sub rosa.

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