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Rangell, L. (1963). Structural Problems in Intrapsychic Conflict. Psychoanal. St. Child, 18:103-138.

(1963). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 18:103-138

Structural Problems in Intrapsychic Conflict

Leo Rangell, M.D.

In my first paper on intrapsychic conflict (1963), I attempted to assess the scope of intrapsychic conflict in human psychology, tracing briefly the historical changes and leading up to our present thinking. I then attempted to have us observe the course of an intrapsychic conflict, in somewhat stripped and "model" form, in what I called a microscopic view of the processes which take place from the time of the advent of the precipitating stimulus to its final resolution in one form or another. This was contrasted with a macroscopic view of what we see clinically and in the therapeutic situation in the manifest surface derivatives of this composite process.

This was a broad approach which traversed a long psychogenetic arc. While certain sections of this arc were selected for more detailed examination, other areas were dealt with only tangentially. Among the latter was the question of the structural characteristics of intrapsychic conflict. The present paper represents an amplification, extension, and a more detailed exposition on this particular segment of the problem. It is accorded separate treatment in the hope that the ambiguities inherent in excessive condensation can thus be avoided.

Such a more extensive treatment is also indicated to take into sufficient account the valuable new views put forth on this specific aspect by Hartmann and by Hartmann and Loewenstein. The former, in his detailed inquiry into the structure and functions of the ego (1950), and the latter, in their similar investigation more recently on the superego (1962), have pointed to the possibilities of intrasystemic conflicts within these respective agencies.

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