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Margolis, G.J. (1974). The Psychology of Keeping Secrets. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:291-296.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:291-296

The Psychology of Keeping Secrets

Gerald J. Margolis


The general concept of secrecy, the keeping and revealing of secrets, curiosity and the search to discover the secret hidden aspects of other people's lives and nature in general are subjects about which little has appeared in the psychoanalytic literature. I have referred to most of the articles earlier; for the sake of completeness and the reader's convenience I will include the only four other papers on the subject in my list of references. (Grand, 1952) ; (Kavka, 1968) ; (Schwarz, 1968) ; (Dickes, 1968). This paper is an attempt to show how much of neurosis formation involves the keeping of secrets from parents and later the child's own ego and superego and how psychoanalytic treatment relies heavily on reversing this process. By calling attention to the concept of secret keeping and revealing we can see a common thread between our treatment technique and the disease we are treating. It is my hope that this will enable us to further refine the former and further our understanding of the latter. If the reader agrees with the thesis I propound, the importance of seeing to it that the analytic situation promotes trust and safety for secret revealing by the patient becomes more clear.

Very little of what I have said is new. However, I expect this is a new and I believe broadening way of looking at many aspects of the field of psychoanalysis that may help us to see new relationships and call our attention to important things that we have hitherto taken for granted.

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