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Hartmann, H. Loewenstein, R.M. (1962). Notes on the Superego. Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:42-81.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:42-81

Notes on the Superego

Heinz Hartmann, M.D. and Rudolph M. Loewenstein, M.D.


It has been said that in psychoanalysis today we find two trends, one of which tends to underestimate the role of the superego compared to that of the ego, while of the second the opposite is true. We think there is some truth in this statement, but we ought to see it in perspective. First of all, we will not be misled into concluding that the isolated study, for certain purposes, of only the one or the other area of the psychoanalytic field means a neglect or an underrating of others. A certain degree of specialization is, today even more than in the past, not only legitimate but has actually proved very fruitful, in analysis as in other sciences. We may also remind you here that Freud found it necessary to object repeatedly to the misunderstanding that his concentration on certain aspects of mental life meant he overlooked or underrated the importance of others which he had not yet, or not yet as carefully, studied. However, what we do ask of every specializing study in analysis, whether it concentrates on the ego, the id, the superego, or any other partial subject, is that it is seen in the framework of the data and theories of psychoanalytic psychology as a whole. At this point, we do not propose to go deeper into the methodological question except in so far as it has an immediate bearing on the themes discussed here.


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