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Meissner, W.W. (1981). Notes on the Psychoanalytic Psychology of the Self. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(2):233-248.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(2):233-248

Notes on the Psychoanalytic Psychology of the Self Related Papers

W. W. Meissner, M.D.

The last twenty-odd years has witnessed a consistent assault on the use of natural science methodology in psychoanalysis. This theme can be traced back to the mid-sixties with the telling criticisms of quantitative explanations by Apfelbaum (1965, 1966), the opposition posed between natural science and humanistic modalities by Home (1966), and Holt's (1965, 1967) critique of Freud's biological assumptions. These were followed by a multitude of attacks on the concept of psychic energy, George Klein's (1976) attempt to divorce psychoanalytic clinical perspectives from metapsychology, and finally Schafer's (1976) thoroughgoing and challenging attempt to abandon traditional metapsychology and its natural-scientific orientation in favor of a more humanistically oriented action paradigm. This drumbeat has been taken up and quickened by John E. Gedo's (1979) recent argument in favor of reformulating psychoanalysis in terms of a psychology of the self, which he interprets in terms of a hierarchy of personal aims and values.

It seems to me that, in the context of this argument, some judicious refocusing of the place of a natural science methodology within psychoanalysis is appropriate.

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