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Busch, F. (1989). The Compulsion to Repeat in Action: A Developmental Perspective. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:535-544.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:535-544

The Compulsion to Repeat in Action: A Developmental Perspective

Fred Busch


The compulsion to repeat in action is seen as being a particular way of thinking that is characteristic of the time when neurosis is formed. This type of thinking has been abundantly studied by Piaget, and is seen as a consequence of the development of more complex thought from action roots. Piaget has labelled this thinking as pre-operational, and it is seen as occurring between the ages of eighteen months and 7 years. Descriptively, it is best characterized as action-thoughts rather than as action. In the area of their neurosis, action-thoughts are a communication by the patient in the only way they can, and are consistent with Freud's earliest description of the compulsion to repeat. Finally, action-thoughts are seen as an ego restriction in the areas of a patient's conflicts.

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