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Frosch, J. (1950). The Basic Neurosis. Oral Regression and Psychic Masochism: By Edmund Bergler, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1949. 353 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 19:423-424.

(1950). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19:423-424

The Basic Neurosis. Oral Regression and Psychic Masochism: By Edmund Bergler, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1949. 353 pp.

Review by:
John Frosch

In this book the author presents his views on psychoanalysis, views which have all been published in previous articles and books. It is manifestly impossible in a short review to survey critically the whole content. The main thesis proposed by the author is that '… there exists but one neurosis, though one with many rescue stations in later development, erected intrapsychically for the purpose of escaping the deepest of all mortal dangers—psychic masochism'. The 'deepest of all mortal dangers' as constructed by the author is that 'The genetic picture comprises the sequence of early infancy: offense to megalomania incurred by a libidinous frustration, fury, motor helplessness, external, later internal, inhibition of aggression—boomeranging of aggressionlibidinization of guilt'.

With this as a basis a series of defenses is elaborated upon which rests the clinical picture. 'The clinical picture is based on the fact that the inner conscience (superego) objects to this peculiar type of infantile pleasure. The result is that the unconscious ego creates new secondary defenses. These secondary defenses comprise the "triad of the mechanism of orality".'

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