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Nierenberg, H.H. (1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: The Superego and Other Internal Objects. Adrian Stephen. Pp. 114–117.. Psychoanal Q., 19:127-128.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: The Superego and Other Internal Objects. Adrian Stephen. Pp. 114–117.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:127-128

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947: The Superego and Other Internal Objects. Adrian Stephen. Pp. 114–117.

Harry H. Nierenberg

Stephen proposes that the concept of the superego as a single entity needs to be revised. He presents the superego as a collection of wishes and its function as the fulfilment of these wishes. Patients in analysis act as if in accordance with standards set up by loved or critical objects taken inside of themselves. This behavior is referred to as 'the expressions of fulfilled wishes'. The subject feels as if he contained—or were—the blaming or praising

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objects because he unconsciously wishes that he did contain these objects and his wish has become what Freud calls a 'psychic reality'. Stephen's point is that there can be no fast distinction between such superego wishes and id or ego wishes even thought, he says, the superego wishes seem to stand apart from the ego wishes. He draws support from Freud's statements that his formulations regarding the structure of the superego should not be taken rigidly. He believes that Freud confused the concept of the superego by introducing ethical considerations into a dynamic scheme. The case of a fifty-year-old woman suffering with alternating periods of depression and elation is used as an illustration. Her symptoms are presented as the fulfilment of her identification wishes. The patient verbalized her wishes to have 'the needed discipline'—her husband, her mother, and her father—locked up within her. She heard threatening voices which Stephen believes cannot be distinguished as representatives of the superego from representatives of the id.

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Article Citation

Nierenberg, H.H. (1950). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXVIII, 1947. Psychoanal. Q., 19:127-128

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