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Gerson, S. (1996). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XVI, 1993. Self-as-Agent in Psychoanalysis. W. W. Meissner. Pp. 459-496.. Psychoanal Q., 65:458-459.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XVI, 1993. Self-as-Agent in Psychoanalysis. W. W. Meissner. Pp. 459-496.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:458-459

Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XVI, 1993. Self-as-Agent in Psychoanalysis. W. W. Meissner. Pp. 459-496.

Samuel Gerson

Meissner first reviews the use of the concept of the self within psychoanalysis and then proposes a supraordinate framework for the concept which encompasses various meanings, functions, and structures attributed to the self. His review is wide- ranging and includes the subjective and phenomenological aspects of the experience of the self; philosophical perspectives on the substantiality, autonomy, and linguistic construction of the self; debates about whether the self is best conceived of in structural or representational terms; the self as related to concepts of identity, person, and ego. On the basis of this review, Meissner concludes that the concept of self achieves its greatest theoretical coherence and functional utility when broadly conceived

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in systemic terms. Accordingly, he proposes that the self is a system which organizes the processes and functions of various psychic agencies, implements self- object interrelationships, and articulates the experience of the subjective sense of self. For Meissner, the self as system achieves its greatest theoretical and clinical import by allowing us to think of the “self-as-agent”; it provides a concept which enables us to locate the origins of complex symbolic and relational actions and to imagine the patient as capable of self-exploration and as actively engaged in the psychoanalytic process.

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Article Citation

Gerson, S. (1996). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought. XVI, 1993.. Psychoanal. Q., 65:458-459

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