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Simons, R.C. (1987). Psychoanalytic Contributions to Psychiatric Nosology: Forms of Masochistic Behavior. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 35:583-608.

(1987). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 35:583-608

Psychoanalytic Contributions to Psychiatric Nosology: Forms of Masochistic Behavior

Richard C. Simons, M.D.


This paper summarizes the major strengths and weaknesses of current psychiatric nosology, and then discusses various forms of masochistic behavior as one illustration of how psychoanalysis can contribute to the continuing evolution of psychiatric nosology. Masochistic behavior is separated into behavior in which there is a predominantly conscious link between pleasure and pain, and behavior in which that link is predominantly unconscious. Both categories are further separated into normal and pathological forms. The current diagnostic category of dysthymic disorder is then discussed, with consideration given to the contribution that psychoanalysis can make toward the clarification and delineation of this heterogeneous diagnostic category.

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