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Perman, J.M. (1959). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 28:140-141.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:140-141

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Joshua M. Perman

DISCUSSION: Dr. Heinz Hartmann emphasized the difficulty of defining the organismic defenses except by analogizing. The identification with the protecting object plays a dominant role in the development of defense mechanisms. The development of aim-inhibited object relationship with the mother provides the neutralized energy for the use of the defense mechanism. He agreed that withdrawal, which Fenichel called 'discontinuance of ego functions', is one of the earliest mechanisms, and is possible because the ego as a separate system has not developed. He noted that displacement is primarily a part of the primary process which can be used as a defense. He felt that early introjection and projection are related to the incomplete demarcation between the self and the object, and hence different from that of the later stages. The functions of the ego are often modeled after some instinctual process. With regression autonomous ego functions may revert to those instinctual tendencies that genetically are related to their origin. Reconstructions offer us the opportunity to check these hypotheses in direct observations and longitudinal studies. He noted that postponement of discharge, the basis of every defense, is regulated by the brain and by hereditary factors influencing the choice of defenses. Psychological processes which are not primarily used as defense may, in critical situations, be put to use by later defenses. Dr. Martin Stein preferred to use the term somatic precursors of defense, and indicated the need to learn how the ego conversely contributes to somatic disease.

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