Anna Freud – The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense , 1936

ID-1008071Image courtesy of Dan at

Copyright 1966, by International Universities Press, Inc.

p. 28   “It is the task of the analyst to bring into consciousness that which is unconscious, no matter to which psychic institution it belongs.  He directs his attention equally and objectively to the unconscious elements in all three institutions.  To put it another way, when he sets about the work of enlightenment, he takes his stand at a point equidistant from the id, the ego, and the superego.

Unfortunately, however, the clear objectivity of this relation is clouded by various circumstances.  The analyst’s absence of bias is not reciprocated; the different institutions react to his efforts in different ways.  We know that the id impulses have of themselves no inclination to remain unconscious.  They naturally tend upward and are perpetually striving to make their way into consciousness and so achieve gratification or at least to send up derivatives to the surface of consciousness. As I have shown, the analyst’s work follows in the same direction as, and reinforces, this upward tendency.  Thus to the repressed elements in the id he appears in the light of a helper and liberator.

With the ego and the superego the case is different.  Insofar as the ego institutions have endeavoured to restrain the id impulses by methods of their own, the analyst comes on the scene as a disturber of the peace.  In the course of his work he abolishes repressions which have been laboriously achieved and destroys compromise formations whose effect, indeed, was pathological but whose form was perfectly ego syntonic.  The analyst’s aim in bringing the unconscious into consciousness and the efforts of the ego institutions to master the instinctual life are contrary to one another.  Hence, except insofar as the patient’s insight into his illness determines matters otherwise, the ego institutions regard the analyst’s purpose as a menace.”

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