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Meissner, W.W. (2009). Volition and Will in Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 57(5):1123-1156.

(2009). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 57(5):1123-1156

Volition and Will in Psychoanalysis Related Papers

W. W. Meissner, S.J.

To clarify the role and function of the will in psychoanalytic theory and praxis, the use and meaning of the concept of will are traced in the philosophical tradition influencing Freud, in Freud's own view of will, and in the subsequent history of psychoanalysis. Functions of the will relevant to psychoanalysis are described in terms of intellective preference and executive functioning. Operations of will as an executive function of the ego-self are analyzed, emphasizing will as efficient cause of motivated actions. The will functions to decide, choose, and initiate action directed to motivationally determined goals. The conclusion is drawn that will action is determined and directed by motivational influences, and that will decision and choice, while predominantly secondary process in organization, can operate consciously or unconsciously. Expressions of will action in psychopathology and in the analytic process are briefly discussed.

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