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Bucci, W. (1994). The Multiple Code Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process: A Framework for Research. Ann. Psychoanal., 22:239-259.

(1994). Annual of Psychoanalysis, 22:239-259

The Multiple Code Theory and the Psychoanalytic Process: A Framework for Research

Wilma Bucci

Psychoanalysis, which began as a science, is trapped within a basic explanatory theory that has not changed in essential respects since its turn-of-the century formulation. Freud initially provided us with two theoretical models: in the first topography (Freud, 1895, 1900) the psychical apparatus is divided into regions or systems based on the accessibility of mental contents to consciousness; conflict arises between these systems. In the second topography or structural theory (Freud, 1923), developed to address the problems of the first, the psychical apparatus is divided into agencies, determined by their relationship to internal instinctual forces and external reality; conflict arises between these agencies of mind. Both of Freud's topographies are models of the distribution of mental energy in the psychical apparatus, and share the assumptions of that system. Both models assume that mental energies derive from somatic sources, that is, from the instincts or drives; that the psychical apparatus is inactive until stimulated; that the building up of instinctual energy produces unpleasure; and that mental activity is motivated toward reducing this instinctual energy, by discharging or binding it.

Many changes have occurred in psychoanalysis since Freud's time, leading to the increasing diversity that characterizes our field today: “pluralism of theoretical perspectives, of linguistic and thought conventions, of distinctive regional, cultural, and language emphases,” as Wallerstein (1988, p. 5) describes the current scene. Some analysis today explicitly reject the concepts of the energy theory, and we are no longer committed to Freud's clinical theories concerning the sources and nature of conflict and of pathology.

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