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Frank, A. (1988). Pervasive Assumptions, the Points of View, and Models of Metapsychology: Review and Revision. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 69:483-494.

(1988). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 69:483-494

Pervasive Assumptions, the Points of View, and Models of Metapsychology: Review and Revision

Alvin Frank


Metapsychology is the collection of higher level theories underlying and explaining the less abstract and experientially based theories of psychoanalysis. These theories are considered and formulated in interrelated contexts of force, excitation, time, organization, and adaptation. The principles are sometimes conceived of in the form of models, reifications which facilitate study and understanding.

Further, certain psychoanalytic metatheoretical assumptions are so pervasive as to be treated within the viewpoints rather than specifically cited. They include provision of the basis for a psychological theory of mind in the biopsychological human entity, psychologically determined mental phenomena, and a lawful sequential logic. The laws and dimensions are inherently impersonal. Their ultimate origin is unknown and perhaps, unknowable.

Freud referred to his theorizations as a kind of conceptual 'scaffolding', necessarily repeatedly revised as mandated by a continuous stream of novel observations and deductions. This contribution is intended as a current statement of those concepts.

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