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Eisnitz, A.J. (1981). The Perspective of the Self-Representation: Some Clinical Implications. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 29:309-336.

(1981). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 29:309-336

The Perspective of the Self-Representation: Some Clinical Implications

Alan J. Eisnitz, M.D.


The concept of the self-representation is offered as a framework for viewing clinical phenomena. As a final common pathway evolving from ego, superego, and id, the self-representation provides the "set" that organizes and gives a special quality to ego functions and object relations under pressure of unconscious wishes. Attention to the shifts of cathexes within the self-representation, to the forces that produce stability or instability within it, and to the defensive measures employed to correct instability is proposed as an approach which expands the analyst's—and ultimately the patient's—insights. Therapeutic change involves the progressive integration of new units of the self-representation. Older

functional aspects of the self-representation and the object relations connected with them must be relinquished. Such renunciations frequently evoke reactions in response to loss both of the "parts" of the self and of the object. Such reactions merit careful therapeutic scrutiny.

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