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Glauber, I.P. (1965). Agoraphobia in the Light of Ego Psychology: By Edoardo Weiss, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1964. 132 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 34:276-281.

(1965). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 34:276-281

Agoraphobia in the Light of Ego Psychology: By Edoardo Weiss, M.D. New York: Grune & Stratton, Inc., 1964. 132 pp.

Review by:
I. Peter Glauber

Following Federn, Weiss defines the ego as the core of the personality rather than as a substructure of the mind. In the present work, which is chiefly devoted to clinical studies, he shows how this concept of the ego offers a clue to human problems not otherwise intelligible. Dr. Weiss first described agoraphobia in a case observed in 1912, and has published fragmentary cases since then, but now for the first time he presents cases at considerable length, and this is his first published series of analyzed cases of this type.

The author summarizes his long-sought understanding of agoraphobia with these words: 'I now recognize that it is based on specific threats to the patient's ego unity'. The ego psychology of Weiss and Federn differs from the usual concepts in that the ego is conceived not as merely the sum of all its functions but as the cathexis which unites the aggregate into a new mental entity. Parallel to this metapsychological definition of the ego is the phenomenological one, that the ego is a phenomenon of experience (Erlebnis) that is sensed consciously and preconsciously as the ego feeling. Conscious ego feeling is sensed through a sharply focused awareness, whereas preconscious ego feeling is sensed as a feeling of confidence in the ability to perceive, to remember, or to repeat a familiar action. What is crucial, then, is proper sensing of reality by means of adequately cathected ego boundaries. Reality testing, the usual term for this function, is a misnomer according to Weiss: it appears in early childhood when motor experiences differentiate between self and nonself, and throughout life in complex processes of learning.

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