Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see the German word that Freud used to refer to a concept…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Want to know the exact German word that Freud used to refer to a psychoanalytic concept? Move your mouse over a paragraph while reading The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud and a window will emerge displaying the text in its original German version.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Brierley, M. (1944). Notes on Metapsychology as Process Theory. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:97-106.

(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:97-106

Notes on Metapsychology as Process Theory

Marjorie Brierley

Concerning the description of psychic processes, Freud (1920; 1) wrote that '…' a presentation which seeks to estimate, not only the topographical and dynamic, but also the economic element is the most complete that we can at present imagine, and deserves to be distinguished by the term metapsychological.'

The topographical method of description was used by Freud in his initial formulations regarding the relation of the unconscious to consciousness and also in his later explanations of id, ego and super-ego inter-relationships. Topographical description is, however, more relevant to brain anatomy and physiology than to psychology. Dynamic and economic terms seem intrinsically more appropriate to the strictly psychological description of mental processes.

The dynamic aspect of a process is its drive; description of this aspect usually involves reference to the intensity and quality of the drive. The economic aspect is the tension-regulating function; that is to say, the changes effected by the process in the endopsychic energy distribution. To describe a process as originating in a heightening of tension and as issuing in a resolution or relaxation of this tension is to describe it from the economic point of view. To-day, the term economic is more frequently used in reference to the distribution of energy between process-systems, the mental organizations, than in reference to individual processes. Since the distribution of energy between systems appears to be effected through the agency of so-called mental mechanisms, these mechanisms may be regarded as processes having specialized economic functions.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.