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Abrams, S. (1979). The Psychoanalytic Normalities. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:821-835.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:821-835

The Psychoanalytic Normalities

Samuel Abrams, M.D.


The word normal is carrying a complex conceptual burden. There are several sources of the complexities and attendant confusions. The first source is found in the roots of allied disciplines. Biology cites a norm of preference; sociology an a priori norm which is to prevail; the historical sciences conceive of normality as the inevitable or arrive at it through a process of retrospective reconstruction; and psychologists offer the statistical norm of prevalence. A second source of ambiguity lies in the subject-matter of psychoanalysis within which is delineated a norm of health, "the normal character" (a disease), and an operational-conceptual norm by which analyzability is judged. The views of these psychoanalytic norms are continuously extended and modified as investigations proceed. This paper has attempted to clarify the contemporary psychoanalytic view of the word and the concept normal.

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