This article reviews and critiques the ego concept. Except for the modern conflict theorists, most schools of contemporary psychoanalytic thought tend to eschew metapsychology and the concept of the ego. The author reviews modern conflict theory and the functions of metapsychology and the ego. Conflict theorists assert that their approach bears little resemblance to Freud’s drive reduction model. Current theory focuses on conflict, bodily urges, unconscious fantasy, and defense but also views developmental issues, reality pressures, and interpersonal interactions as important. The author argues that conflict theorists incorporate the old metabiology into their formulations. He uses evidence from evolutionary biology, psychological science, and systems theory to suggest that the ego be viewed as a self-generating process, functioning within evolutionary constraints and capable of reacting to contingent circumstances in a self enhancing fashion. Finally, he discusses the implications of this view on the clinical controversies surrounding the role and function of neutrality.
Category: Professional WritingsBy Dr. Lettieri
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