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Schmukler, A.G. (1992). American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Psychoanalysis as a Therapy of Society (1940). Paul Federn. Pp. 125-141.. Psychoanal Q., 61:322.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Psychoanalysis as a Therapy of Society (1940). Paul Federn. Pp. 125-141.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:322

American Imago. XLVI, 1989: Psychoanalysis as a Therapy of Society (1940). Paul Federn. Pp. 125-141.

Anita G. Schmukler

The author refers to an unpublished paper of Freud's which examined unconscious elements in character formation. This line of thought leads from psychopathology to an examination of applied psychoanalysis. Resistance to psychoanalysis in both its constructive and critical aspects is explained partly by the general public's rejection of that which is new, creative, pursues truth, and thus interferes with repression. The pain of uncovering illusions, rationalizations, and other forms of self-deceit is displayed in resistance to psychoanalytic thought. Federn points out that the individual who has analyzed his or her unconscious conflicts has a greater sense of direction and an increased potential, in his or her high regard for truth, to contribute to the welfare of society. A successful psychoanalysis can potentially transform sadistic impulses into better superego function and masochistic impulses toward healthful perseverance. Thus a series of fears about the anticipated social dangers of psychoanalytic thought are addressed, discussed, and dismissed. With respect to social change, Federn observes a general weakening of oedipal conflict and individual "ego-feeling" while the group ego increases in strength. He views psychoanalysis as a partial remedy for this problem, so that individuals of strong moral fiber will beneficially influence society. He expresses sincere optimism for the contributions of psychoanalysis to individual treatment, cultural explorations, and as a remedy for societal malfunction.


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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1992). American Imago. XLVI, 1989. Psychoanal. Q., 61:322

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.