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Zepf, S. (2013). A note on the application of the term “disavowal” in psychoanalysis. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 36(1):35-42.

(2013). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 36(1):35-42

A note on the application of the term “disavowal” in psychoanalysis

Siegfried Zepf

The author questions whether disavowal is to be understood as a defence mechanism in its own right. After discussing the different understandings of disavowal as a defence mechanism, as the outcome of defence mechanisms and as a synonym for defence in general, he recapitulates Freud's use of disavowal and confronts it with Freud's concept of defence mechanisms. He concludes that in Freud's conceptual framework, disavowal does not qualify as such a mechanism. To avoid the confusion produced by using disavowal with reference to a process, the outcome of a process, the individual in the general and the general in the individual, he recommends using the concept in Freud's conceptualisation only in agreement with Brenner, and Moore and Fine, to denote the properties of defence mechanisms and substitutive formations.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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