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Allen, D.W. (1959). The Journal of Mental Science. CIV, 1958: The Neurotic Process as the Focus of Physiological and Psychoanalytic Research. Lawrence S. Kubie. Pp. 518-536.. Psychoanal Q., 28:574-574.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Journal of Mental Science. CIV, 1958: The Neurotic Process as the Focus of Physiological and Psychoanalytic Research. Lawrence S. Kubie. Pp. 518-536.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:574-574

The Journal of Mental Science. CIV, 1958: The Neurotic Process as the Focus of Physiological and Psychoanalytic Research. Lawrence S. Kubie. Pp. 518-536.

David W. Allen

Kubie views the 'partisan acrimony' of the 'organophobic analysts' and the 'psychophobic neurophysiologists' as a manifestation of a defense against self-knowledge. Logical lapses of both camps include: 1, failure to describe the critical step which initiates the process of falling ill; 2, failure to distinguish the initial step from the complex chain reaction which follows; and 3, failure to ask what transient cross section of the continuously evolving neurotic process (with its geometrically progressive secondary and tertiary feedback effects) may be defined as a specific type of neurosis with a consistent etiology and outcome. Kubie emphasizes that the neurotic potential is inherent in every human being by virtue of the tripartite organization of the mind into symbol-forming systems,—the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious; and that the neurotic process depends upon many variables in the interplay of these systems before the neurotic state is reached. Forces, solely psychological or a combination of psychological and organic, which predetermine the automatic repetition of an act, irrespective of any considerations, are said to be neurogenic and the act neurotic.

Kubie points out the need for basic research into the organic and psychological determinants of repetitive phenomena: for instance, their release and suppression by pharmacological agents, the origins and influence of the 'central emotional position', and the problem of 'trigger mechanisms'.

Distortions of preconscious functions are the essence of the neurotic process. This distortion depends primarily on dissociation of affect from initial stimulus or dissociation of symbol from initial meaning. Kubie believes that analysts and neurophysiologists alike have neglected investigation of the central role of the preconscious system in the processing of all perceptual and conceptual mentation. When unconscious factors predominate, resultant patterns of behavior are rigid and repetitive. Conversely, when conscious and preconscious factors predominate, behavior is flexibly responsive to external experience. The critical question in both the neurotic and creative processes is what psychophysiological constants or variables are determinants at any given moment.

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Article Citation

Allen, D.W. (1959). The Journal of Mental Science. CIV, 1958. Psychoanal. Q., 28:574-574

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