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Miller, I. (1963). Confrontation, Conflict, and the Body Image. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 11:66-83.

(1963). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 11:66-83

Confrontation, Conflict, and the Body Image

Ira Miller, M.D.


In this paper an attempt is made to understand the role of confrontation as a therapeutic technique by means of understanding certain changes in the body-ego feeling that occur transiently in the course of treatment. It is postulated that the effect of consistent confrontation with reality serves to reinforce the strength of the relatively dormant, mature self-representation. When this has achieved sufficient strength, a conflict occurs within the ego between the more mature and the regressively determined, defensive, immature representation. That such a conflict has occurred, rendering the character attitude ego-dystonic, may be indicated by an increased cathexis of the defensive representation of sufficient intensity to achieve conscious awareness as a distortion of the body image.

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