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Reider, N. (1950). The Concept of Normality. Psychoanal Q., 19:43-51.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:43-51

The Concept of Normality

Norman Reider, M.D.


Clinical observations on the concept of normality reveal that to a certain segment of our population the term has meaning as an extension and a derivative of the concept of 'good'. In various ways acquaintance with it can be anxiety-provoking and anxiety-allaying. To some it constitutes a threat and

accusation. Others more or less successfully use it in adopting counterphobic attitudes, in aiding reaction-formation, and in processes of identification. The ways in which it has become of value culturally and the manner in which it is multiply determined are illustrated by clinical examples. It is evident not only as a class phenomenon, but also as playing a role in many individuals of different psychiatric diagnostic categories. In the main, when it is used successfully against anxiety it is seen as an additional layer of intellectual defense.

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