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Eissler, K.R. (1962). On the Metapsychology of the Preconscious—A Tentative Contribution to Psychoanalytic Morphology. Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:9-41.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:9-41

Contributions to Psychoanalytic Theory

On the Metapsychology of the Preconscious—A Tentative Contribution to Psychoanalytic Morphology

K. R. Eissler, Ph.D.

The concept of the preconscious has once more moved into the center of theoretical discussion since Ernst Kris made it the subject of a paper in 1950. He then wrote (p. 304): "The introduction of these new [structural] concepts has never fully been integrated with the broad set of propositions developed earlier." Today one feels tempted to paraphrase this statement and wish to integrate concepts such as the preconscious into existing ego psychology. The trend toward discarding parts of psychoanalytic theory in favor of structural psychology is unquestionably strong in the present phase of psychoanalysis.

In the center of research there now stands the attempt to clarify and purify psychoanalytic concepts. Indeed, the heritage of Freud's lifework is so rich (and overwhelming) that several generations will probably have to devote their principal effort to such tasks as ordering, verifying, redefining, briefly digesting, the wealth of discoveries and theories Freud left to posterity.

The clinical, theoretical, and experimental work of psychoanalytic validation, though certainly a wholesome process, involves certain dangers. In the effort to establish the desired harmony of theories and conceptual exactness, the baby may be thrown out with the bath, that is, clinical facts may be overlooked or misinterpreted.

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