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Freedman, N. (1980). On Splitting and Its Resolution. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 3(2):237-266.

(1980). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 3(2):237-266

On Splitting and Its Resolution

Norbert Freedman, Ph.D.


The consciousness of an age shapes the form of its psychological thought. Thus, the leitmotif of the issues we encounter in a given era is but the manifestation of the salient social climate. The theme of repressed sexuality, as is well known, is in part rooted in the code of the Victorian age. A preoccupation with aggression and destructiveness as the primary psychological conflict was dominant after the horrors of the First World War and the sadistic possibilities of the Hitler era. The focus on issues of ego autonomy and mastery appeared to be a counterpoint to the phase of affluence in the 1950s. The emphasis of the current era is on the crisis of integrity. The themes of authenticity, integration, and cohesiveness appear to bear an intimate relation to the cynicism of that phase of our recent past which we have termed “Watergate”. The very popular concept of being “together” emphasizes that, perhaps, the failure to attain an inner sense of unity is a source of shame.

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