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Arlow, J.A. (1985). Chapter 2: The Structural Hypothesis. Models of the Mind: Their Relationships to Clinical Work, 21-33.

Arlow, J.A. (1985). Chapter 2: The Structural Hypothesis. Models of the Mind: Their Relationships to Clinical Work , 21-33

Chapter 2: The Structural Hypothesis Book Information Previous Up Next

Jacob A. Arlow, M.D.

In the course of his clinical work, the analyst is profoundly influenced by the model of the mind to which he subscribes. While he may not be aware of this at all times, his theory of mental functioning constantly guides what he says and what he does. It influences how he attends to what the patient is saying, what he perceives in the patient's productions, and how he organizes his observations.

The structural hypothesis represents an organic development from the fundamental postulates of psychoanalysis. The concepts that make up the foundations of psychoanalysis are psychic determinism, dynamic conflict (the interplay of opposing trends or impulses), and unconscious mental processes. For me, the idea that intrapsychic conflict is the basic dimension of mental functioning in general and of psychopathology in particular is inexorable and unequivocal. The cumulative observations of almost 100 years of psychoanalytic experience confirm this. The nature of our investigative instrument, the psychoanalytic situation, articulates it. In fact, as Freud described in his “An Autobiographical Study” (1925), the psychoanalytic situation and its quintessential component, tree association, were designed to facilitate the emergence into consciousness of derivatives of persistent unconscious conflicts.

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