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Klein, M.I. (1983). Freud's Drive Theory and Ego Psychology: A Critical Evaluation of the Blancks. Psychoanal. Rev., 70(4):505-517.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(4):505-517

Freud's Drive Theory and Ego Psychology: A Critical Evaluation of the Blancks

Milton I. Klein

Gertrude and Rubin Blanck (1974, 1979) have presented articulate expositions and integrations of that complex body of literature known as psychoanalytic ego psychology. Their two volume opus is very popular, widely read, and has received much praise from analysts prominently associated with developments in ego psychology. There is, however, much in the Blancks' writings that calls for commentary and clarification. I have, therefore, relied primarily on their works to serve the purpose of this paper, namely, a critical inquiry into certain aspects of psychoanalytic ego psychology.

Ego psychology is but one attempt to encompass the subject matter of psychoanalysis within a viable theory. It would, however, be a mistaken impression—based on the enormous popularity of ego psychology—to think that psychoanalytic ego psychology is the “official” theory of psychoanalysis. There are, for example, many Freudian analysts (such as Glover, Balint, Weiss, Kubie, Zetzel, and Gill) as well as numerous psychoanalytic “revisionists,” (such as Bowlby, Peter-freund, Schafer, Thicksten, and Rosenblatt) who have expressed considerable dissatisfaction with ego psychological theory.

What makes the group of Freudian analysts who are identified with the modern theory of the ego “psychoanalytic ego psychologists” is not just the new emphasis which they ascribe to the ego, but also their common conceptual tie to Freudian drive theory. To put it another way, psychoanalytic ego psychology is a psychoanalytic theory attempting to mate a new ego and an old id. This cross-fertilization of a new ego with an old (or Freudian) id has, in my opinion, led some ego psychologists to depart profoundly from Freudian theory. If this

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