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Grossman, W.I. (2002). Hartmann and the Integration of Different Ways of Thinking. J. Clin. Psychoanal., 11(2):271-293.

(2002). Journal of Clinical Psychoanalysis, 11(2):271-293

Hartmann and the Integration of Different Ways of Thinking

William I. Grossman, M.D.

This paper considers Hartmann in relation to his efforts to integrate diverse points of view in psychoanalysis. His work examined the connections between theory and technique, between science and hermeneutics, between psychoanalysis and other fields studying mental function, and between ego psychology and other psychoanalytic viewpoints. Introducing biological and at times sociological ideas into the study of the ego, he addressed the role of inborn normal functions by considering problems of adaptation and of health. His ideas of autonomous ego functions and the conflict-free sphere made the issues of normal function explicit while offering a vocabulary for discussing them. Hartmann's concepts were an attempt to create a framework permitting a systematic utilization of observations and concepts from both outside and within the psychoanalytic setting. His work has long come under criticism, at first because he was perceived as ignoring the id and conflict. Later his use of biological concepts and his insistence that psychoanalysis is a science led many psychoanalysts to reject Hartmann on grounds of insufficient relevance to a more humanistic and hermeneutic view of psychoanalysis. This paper considers some aspects of these criticisms.

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