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Brenner, C. (1957). The Nature and Development of the Concept of Repression in Freud's Writings. Psychoanal. St. Child, 12:19-46.

(1957). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 12:19-46

The Nature and Development of the Concept of Repression in Freud's Writings

Charles Brenner, M.D.

The aim of the present paper is an exposition of Freud's concept of repression. Freud introduced the term "repression" at the very beginning of his psychoanalytic writings and from the start it was one of the fundamentals of psychoanalytic theory. There can be no doubt, therefore, of the importance of the topic and of the fact that it warrants careful study. In studying it, however, one must bear in mind that the concept of repression was not a static one that was first enunciated in final and finished form, but that it was rather one that changed and developed during the course of many years. These changes were the result of two mutually related factors: first, the availability of new data of observation which required extensions or modifications of the concept of repression, and second, changes in Freud's theories of mental functioning in general, theories of which the concept of repression formed a part and with the other elements of which it had to be consistent.

For the sake of convenience one may say that there were four principal stages at which Freud made important innovations in the concept of repression or significant additions to it: first, the stage of introduction of the concept, in 1894-1896; second, the period 1900-1906; third, the period 1911-1915; and fourth, the period 1923-1939. Accordingly the present paper has been divided into four sections which correspond approximately with these periods.

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