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Arlow, J.A. (1991). Chapter 1: Conflict, Trauma, and Deficit. Conflict and Compromise: Therapeutic Implications, 3-14.

Arlow, J.A. (1991). Chapter 1: Conflict, Trauma, and Deficit. Conflict and Compromise: Therapeutic Implications , 3-14

Section I: The Workshop Papers

Chapter 1: Conflict, Trauma, and Deficit Book Information Previous Up Next

Jacob A. Arlow, M.D.

The concepts conflict, trauma, and deficit raise issues fundamental to both psychoanalytic theory and practice. In recent years, as a consequence of the influence of studies in child development and the widened application of psychoanalysis to borderline and narcissistic patients, the relative role that each of these concepts plays in the process of neuroso-genesis and therapy seems to call for reassessment and clarification. The purpose of this communication is to make some effort in that direction.

Psychoanalysis is first and foremost a psychology of conflict. Kris (1950) defined psychoanalysis as human nature seen from the vantage point of conflict and, more recently, Richards and Willick (1986) designated psychoanalysis as the science of mental conflict. Throughout his writings, Freud regarded the functioning of the mind in terms of an interplay of forces that stimulated the psychic apparatus into action. This is the essence of psychoanalysis as a dynamic psychology.

After proposing several models for the functioning of the mind, Freud (1923) finally sketched the outlines of a theory of mental functioning that could serve as a framework within which the relations among the various mental elements in conflict could be defined and their function analyzed.

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