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Freud, A. (1981). Insight—Its Presence and Absence as a Factor in Normal Development. Psychoanal. St. Child, 36:241-249.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 36:241-249

Problems of Insight

Insight—Its Presence and Absence as a Factor in Normal Development

Anna Freud


THE EXTENT OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S KNOWLEDGE OF HIS OWN PSYCHIC processes is one of the foremost problems which confront the psychoanalyst. Most members of the profession are concerned with this, above all, as a phenomenon within the analytic treatment situation and significantly influenced by it. I maintain here that it is of no less significance as a factor within the ongoing developmental processes and of decisive influence on their positive or negative outcome.

The word used within the psychoanalytic terminology for this specific manifestation is "insight" (i.e., the English translation of the German Einsicht). Freud used the term Einsicht almost exclusively for a patient's acknowledgment of the presence and significance of his psychological troubles (Krankheitseinsicht), though it occurs in his Gesammelte Schriften occasionally also as denoting "knowledge" in general, and in one special instance as


Director, Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic, which is at present supported by the Herman A. and Amelia S. Ehrmann Foundation, New York; the Field Foundation, Inc., New York; the Freud Centenary Fund, London; the Anna Freud Foundation, New York; the New-Land Foundation, Inc., New York; and a number of private supporters.

This paper is simultaneously published in: The Writings of Anna Freud, 8:137-148. New York: International Universities Press, 1981.

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