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Mechanisms of defence and their place in psycho-analytic therapy: Discussion

Author(s): De Saussure R


After having heard the three brilliant papers given this morning, I shall endeavour not to succumb to the temptation of giving you a fourth report on how to treat mechanisms of defence by psycho-analytic technique. I shall confine myself to pointing out what has appeared to me to be the essence of the papers we have just heard.

Dr. Loewenstein began by explaining to us in a comprehensive introduction the improvements and the changes arrived at in analytic treatment since Freud reformulated his theory of anxiety and elaborated a personality structure, which has facilitated the study of man in his social, physiological, and biological environment. In this introduction the speaker has clearly shown how much the problem of defence mechanisms has gained in clarity since our knowledge of the development of the ego has increased; he endeavours also to classify the problems of technique which derive from this development. It was only later that he dealt more specifically with defence mechanisms, stating the problems which present themselves in this connexion without having the time really to elaborate them and without integrating them as much as we should have liked in the framework of the therapeutic questions they present.

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