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Lampl-De Groot, J. (1962). Ego Ideal and Superego. Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:94-106.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:94-106

Ego Ideal and Superego

Jeanne Lampl-De Groot, M.D.


The ego ideal and the restricting superego originate alongside each other in primitive forerunners in infancy. They may be considered as special ego areas with their own functions. At the onset of the latency period they are centered around the parental images.

In harmonious development, they act together as a substructure within the ego organization, guiding the ego in its achievements. Throughout life the ego ideal remains essentially an agency of wish fulfillment. The superego is a restricting agency, necessary for living in a given community.

In abnormal development, traces of the origins of both ego ideal and superego can be observed as a consequence of fixations on and regressions to primitive developmental stages. The different identifications may be used as defense mechanisms in a pathological way and so add to the disharmony of the individual.

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