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Menaker, E. (1969/1970). Discussion. Psychoanal. Rev., 56D(4):543-551.

(1969/1970). Psychoanalytic Review, 56D(4):543-551


Esther Menaker, Ph.D.

We have just heard three outstanding and thought-provoking papers on what has not very precisely been called ego psychology but should be qualified as Freudian ego psychology. For we must bear in mind that all three speakers who have addressed themselves to the psychological study of the ego, be it theoretical or technical, have done so within the framework of Freudian psychoanalysis. That is surely a legitimate undertaking. It does not, however, represent the spectrum of all that has been contributed to an understanding of ego genesis, development, and function by psychology in general, by nonpsychoanalytic therapies, or by those therapies which regard themselves as psychoanalytic, but are not so regarded by Freudian analysts. I am making this emphasis because it is of the utmost importance if we are to make any claims to being scientific at all to remember, in the enthusiasm for a given point of view, that a system of thought cannot be equated with a body of knowledge.

Even within Freudian psychoanalytic literature there has been a recent and unfortunate tendency, as Dr. Bellak rightly points out, to separate ego psychology from the body of psychoanalytic thought, as if it were a discrete psychology, apart from other propositions of Freudian theory. I would add that in analogous fashion the contributions of Freudian theory—and they are of great significance- must find their place along with other contributions in the general understanding of the psychology of man.

However, today we are committed to a discussion of a specific and limited aspect of Freudian theory as well as of its effect on clinical practice, both in psychotherapeutic technique and diagnostic procedure.

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