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Lampl-De Groot, J. (1975). Vicissitudes of Narcissism and Problems of Civilization. Psychoanal. St. Child, 30:663-681.

(1975). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 30:663-681

Vicissitudes of Narcissism and Problems of Civilization

Jeanne Lampl-De Groot, M.D.

IN THIS PRESENTATION I SHALL ATTEMPT TO PROCEED ALONG THE PATH indicated by the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud repeatedly said that he had only made beginnings. He encouraged others to continue to extend psychoanalysis theoretically as well as practically and to apply it to other human sciences.

A psychoanalytic contribution to the problem of civilized societies can only be a limited one. Nevertheless, I feel that it might be worthwhile to venture a few ideas on this topic. As a psychoanalyst I shall start with observations made in the psychoanalytic treatment situation. In particular, I shall examine the genetic roots of the working alliance.

This term does not appear in Freud's writings. It is a concept that emerged in the psychoanalytic literature many years after Freud's death (Zetzel, 1956); (Stone, 1961); (Loewenstein, 1969); (Greenacre, 1954), (and in Greenson's work from 1965 onward). The term is used interchangeably with "therapeutic alliance." I believe the two terms cover the same phenomenon. A patient who has decided to work in an alliance with the analyst does so in order to obtain a therapeutic result, to be cured from his symptoms and his mental distress. Greenson uses, in addition, the term "real or nontransference relationship" between analyst and patient. This relationship is different from the working alliance.

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