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Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Waldron, S., Jr. (1987). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 56:426-427.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:426-427

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Sherwood Waldron, Jr.

February 26, 1985. THE EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE EGO. The Heinz Hartmann Award Lecture. Leo Rangell, M.D.

Dr. Rangell introduced his subject by commenting that his presentation would comprise an extension of one important aspect of Hartmann's contribution to our understanding of ego autonomy and the conflict-free sphere of the ego. The primary emphasis of Hartmann's work in relation to ego functions was in regard to adaptation to the demands of id, superego, and the external world. Dr. Rangell delineated how Freud, Anna Freud, Hartmann, Rapaport, and many others made incidental references that acknowledged the role of initiation, not simply reaction, by the ego in human life. A more extensive psychoanalytic investigation of initiation and ego autonomy has not yet been made, partly because of the close relationship between the concepts of autonomy and free will. Dr. Rangell suggested severing the notion of "free" from that of "will," and with this beginning, he brilliantly outlined the problems of the concept. One important stumbling block has been the failure to recognize the role of choice and decision making as ego activities, often outside of awareness. The failure to focus upon this important aspect of ego functioning—"the executive function of the ego"—has interfered with the development of an adequate psychoanalytic theory of action. This is also reflected in a failure to appreciate the importance of decisions made by the ego. Symptoms "are as much a choice as normal behavioral outcomes.

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