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Lotto, D.J. (1982). Another Point of View on Freud's Metapsychology. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 10(3):457-481.

(1982). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 10(3):457-481

Another Point of View on Freud's Metapsychology

David J. Lotto, Ph.D.

In 1960 David Rapaport's essay, “The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory: A Systematizing Attempt,” was published in the newly founded journal, Psychological Issues. This monograph gave a systematic account of the status of the theoretical concepts of psychoanalysis, the metapsychology as developed from Freud's original formulations by the ego psychology school, chiefly Heinz Hartmann. Rapaport's treatment of the theory in terms of the metapsychological point of view stands as the most rigorous and complete statement of the metapsychology and has been largely accepted as the orthodox position within the psychoanalytic community.

Criticism of psychoanalytic theory from many different quarters has been an ever-present counterpoint to the development of psychoanalysis from the time of Freud's earliest psychoanalytic publications. However, starting in the mid-1960's and continuing to the present, there has been a considerable amount of criticism of the metapsychology from within the psychoanalytic community. The critical attacks have increased in both frequency and degree in the last several years, culminating with a panel discussion published by Psychological Issues in 1976 under the title, Psychology versus Metapsychology.

The arguments brought forth against the metapsychology take several forms and come from diverse perspectives. Some are limited to one aspect of the metapsychology: the energy concepts involved in the economic point of view have often been singled out for attack, with recommendations to either abandon them outright or to make major modifications in them.

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