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Inderbitzin, L.B. Levy, S.T. (1998). Repetition Compulsion Revisited: Implications for Technique. Psychoanal Q., 67(1):32-53.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(1):32-53

Repetition Compulsion Revisited: Implications for Technique

Lawrence B. Inderbitzin, M.D. and Steven T. Levy, M.D.

Freud's repetition compulsion concept is reviewed and examined critically. It has been used as an explanatory concept to cover a wide variety of clinical phenomena similar only in their manifest repetitive quality, and it appears frequently in psychoanalytic and psychiatric literature. Its relationship to trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder is explored. Emphasis is on the detrimental technical legacy of the concept, which has cast a pessimistic aura of unanalyzability over a wide variety of repetitive phenomena, especially analyzable resistances related to aggressive conflicts. We conclude that the repetition compulsion is an anachronistic concept with detrimental technical implications and that it should be retired.

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