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Greenson, R.R. (1954). Problems of Identification—Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:197-199.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:197-199

Problems of Identification—Introduction

Ralph R. Greenson, M.D.

Problems of identification began to come into prominence in the psychoanalytic literature ever since the publication of Freud's Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego in 1921, in which he presented a survey of his thinking on the subject. Actually the metapsychological basis for his views were already described in his paper "On Narcissism: An Introduction, " published in 1914. In "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917) Freud discussed certain normal and pathological outcomes which occur when one has lost a love object. Freud then summarized his findings in The Ego and the Id (1923) and also attempted to extend his formulations to include the concepts of instinctual defusion, bisexuality and ambivalence. Karl Abraham's paper, "A Short Study of the Development of the Libido Viewed in the Light of Mental Disorders" (1925), was also an important landmark in the endeavors to understand the problems of normal and pathological identifications.

In more recent times, problems of identification have occupied psychoanalysts in their attempts to fathom the dynamics and metapsychology of early ego functions and dysfunctions.

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