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Vitger, J. (1993). Comments on the Ikonen and Rechardt papers on the death drive and the origin of shame. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 16(2):141-146.

(1993). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 16(2):141-146

Comments on the Ikonen and Rechardt papers on the death drive and the origin of shame

John Vitger, M.D.

When we were asked to comment on the Finnish papers at the XIIIth Nordic Psychoanalytical Congress in Reykjavik in the summer of 1992, Ikonen and Rechardt were represented by a paper on shame Ikonen & Rechardt, 1993, roughly as it is presented in this issue. Later, the editors supplemented this issue with a new article by these authors on the death drive Rechardt & Ikonen, 1993, a subject on which Ikonen and Rechardt have worked for many years (1978, 1980, 1993a). Apparently these are two very different topics, the one clinical and the other metapsychological; however, a more thorough reading reveals connections which makes it meaningful to comment on them together. Both are concerned with neglected fields. In both cases, these fields are examined afresh and brought into current debate, which establishes links between earlier theory and the present. They are also interconnected in that clinical viewpoints on shame problems attain a metapsychological frame of understanding in the light of the theoretical interpretation of the death drive theory. Their metapsychological explanations of the death drive are clinically exemplified by their reflections on the phenomenology and theory of shame.

The Death Drive

Ikonen and Rechardt close their shame article, remarking with regret that psychoanalytical science has neglected this important phenomenon. They could have stated the same with regard to the death drive.

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