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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

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

Van Der Leeuw, P.J. (1971). On the Development of the Concept of Defence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 52:51-58.

(1971). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 52:51-58

On the Development of the Concept of Defence

P. J. Van Der Leeuw

What I have tried to do in this paper is to outline the crucial steps, as I see them, in the development of the concept of defence. I shall present my own ideas and personal views rather than give a detailed review of the literature on the subject, interspersed with casuistic material. Besides, psychoanalysis in its present state of development is very much in need of investigations which trace the development of our basic concepts in Freud's own works as well as in the non-Freudian psychoanalytic literature. Only when we have a clear picture of the course of our theoretical conceptualizations and way of thinking can we judge the need for reformulation and changes in our theory, for replacement of older concepts by newer ones, etc. This process of critically reviewing our theory is in full swing nowadays. It must be based on our own extensive clinical experience, combined with a thorough knowledge of the different trends in psychoanalytic theory, if this review is to prove fruitful for the further development of our science.

I am more and more becoming convinced that it is necessary for us to have a clear picture of Freud's way of thinking. We must know his attitude as a theorist and as an empirical scientist. There is a lack of data on this subject in the psychoanalytic literature.

Now that I have made these general and introductory remarks, I want to return to the subject-matter.

The composition of this paper is the result of a frequently confirmed experience from my own educational work.

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