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Aufreiter, J. (1960). Psycho-Analysis and Consciousness. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:335-340.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:335-340

Psycho-Analysis and Consciousness

J. Aufreiter

After Freud's discovery of the unconscious motivations of conscious behaviour, psycho-analysts were mostly concerned with the unconscious, and only in the last decade has more been written about the state of consciousness. I believe that this renewed interest in consciousness was partly caused by the increased clinical and therapeutic concern of psycho-analysts about schizophrenics, and—in my own case at least—was stimulated by the strange forms of consciousness appearing in paranoid patients.

In reviewing problems of consciousness I shall, of course, first quote Freud, who in 1900, in The Interpretation of Dreams(3), considered 'consciousness to be a sense organ for the perception of psychical qualities', and 'conscious perception as the function proper' to this organ. After the introduction of the structural concept in The Ego and the Id(6), Freud considered consciousness a function of the ego. He said: 'This ego includes consciousness, and it controls the approaches to motility. It is this institution in the mind which regulates all its own constituent processes.'

I am inclined to see consciousness not only as a psychological function, but, in the sense of Hartmann (10), (11), as a primary autonomous function of the ego.

Consciousness and Instincts

(i) First Appearance

The time of the first appearance of consciousness is a problem best covered by neurologists and developmental psychologists, but I may mention some observations, as timing has importance for the hypothesis of birth trauma.

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