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Schlesinger, H.J. (1992). What Does Psychoanalysis have to Contribute to the Understanding of Character. Psychoanal. St. Child, 47:225-234.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 47:225-234

What Does Psychoanalysis have to Contribute to the Understanding of Character

Herbert J. Schlesinger, Ph.D.


While character is an indispensable term in psychoanalytic discourse, it is not primarily a psychoanalytic term. The psychoanalytic theories of neurosis and development are built around the idea of the "complementary series." While psychoanalysis has powerful theories about the "accidental" complement, it only recognizes the "constitutional" complement, and psychoanalysis has nothing to say about it. Current research may shed more light on this latter component and also provide the data for future psychoanalytic theorizing about character and personality.

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