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Loewenstein, R.M. (1969). Developments in the Theory of Transference in the Last Fifty Years. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 50:583-588.

(1969). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 50:583-588

Developments in the Theory of Transference in the Last Fifty Years

Rudolph M. Loewenstein

This Journal began publication at a time when important and fundamental new developments in psychoanalysis were about to take place. In 1920 Freud published a monograph, 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle'; in 1921, 'Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego'. In the first, he introduced the concept of aggression as an independent instinctual drive; in the second he opened up a new area of investigation: the analysis of the ego. Both these developments had an enormous impact upon psychoanalytic theory, clinic and technique. Both have become so intertwined that a separate consideration of either today may seem artificial, although each had an independent course and outcome of its own.

To start with the theory of aggression: When Freud first introduced it, he wondered why it had taken him so long to state in a general form the existence of manifestations of aggression not directly connected with libido. Perhaps he had needed a more general reformulation of instinctual drives and regulatory principles in order to do so. He considered aggressive tendencies to be secondary manifestations, directed against the external world, of a hypothesized primary self-destructive tendency or death instinct. This death instinct would reign not only in the human mind, but in all living substances, and would tend to bring about the death of the organism: a return of the organic matter to the inorganic state. Freud based this theory predominantly on pathological conditions, such as traumatic neuroses, fate neuroses, moral masochism, and on what he called from then on repetition compulsion in transference phenomena (cf.

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