Ego psychology and interpretation in psychoanalytic therapies (Dream ‘fresh brains’) : December 1948 (New York) [1951] : Ernst Kris

by Julia Evans on December 1, 1948

Presented at the panel on Technical Implications of Ego Psychology at the midwinter meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, New York , December 1948. Published in Psychoanalytic Quarterly: Vol 20: 1951

Available to download from   /authors a-z or authors by date

Previous analyst’s description :

Intellectual Inhibition & Disturbances in Eating (Dream ‘fresh brains’) : September 1933 [Published1938] : Melitta Schmideberg or here

Commentary by Jacques Lacan

For further details see Jacques Lacan comments Dream ‘fresh brains’ in Seminars I, III, VI, X & XIV and Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis : 26th & 27th September 1953 & Direction of the Treatment : 10th to 13th July 1958 or here

The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis : 26 & 27 September 1953

Seminar I : 20th & 27th January 1954 : p24 of John Forrester’s translation

Seminar I : 10th February 1954 : p59 of John Forrester’s translation

Response to Jean Hyppolite’s Commentary on Freud’s “Verneinung” : 10th February 1954 :  Écrits

Seminar I : 5th May 1954 : p164 of John Forrester’s translation

Seminar III : 11th January 1956: p79-81 of Russell Grigg’s translation

Seminar III : 14th March 1956: p165-166 of Russell Grigg’s translation

The Direction of the Treatment : 10th to 13th July 1958

See also The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here

Reference [15] p72 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : p14 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : What can be said, is that the new ways, by which the approach opened up by the discoverer has supposedly been legitimised, show a confusion of terms that can only be revealed in the particular. I will therefore take up an example that has already contributed to my teaching; naturally, it has been chosen from a distinguished author, who, by virtue of his background, is particularly sensitive to the dimension of interpretation. I am referring to Ernst Kris and to a case which, he does not hide, he took over from Melitta Schmideberg [15]. ….

Seminar VI : 1st July 1959 : p344 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation

Seminar X : 23rd January 1963 :  p84 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation

Seminar XIV : 8th March 1967 : p151 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation

References by Kris to Sigmund Freud

Extracts from the footnotes and index.

P16 of Ernst Kris’ paper : Surely Freud did not turn to the study of psychoses merely to engage in polemics with Jung, or in response to suggestions of Abraham; nor can it be assumed that his interest in character neuroses was due only to an increase in the incidence of character neuroses among his patients during the early 1920’s, and hence to a ‘psychosocial’ event

P16 : Freud’s readiness for new formulations is perhaps best attested by the fact that the principles of ego psychology had been anticipated in his ‘Papers On Technique’. Freud: Coll. Papers, II [Standard Edition: Volume XII: Case History of Schreber, Papers on Technique,and Other Works (1911-1913)]

P16 Most of these papers were written contemporaneously with his first and never completed attempt at a reformulation of theory, which was to be achieved in the ‘Papers On Metapsychology’ 1915. [Freud: Coll. Papers, IV. : Penguin Freud Library, Volume 11, ‘On Metapsychology] The precedence of technical over theoretical formulations extended throughout Freud’s development. It was evident during the 1890’s when in the ‘Studies in Hysteria’ 1893-1895 Freud reserved for himself the section on therapy and not that on theory  [Freud (with Breuer): Studies in Hysteria. Translated by A. A. Brill. New York: Nervous and Mental Disease Monographs, 1936 or Sigmund Freud & Joseph Breuer, 3. Studies on Hysteria, Volume 3 of Penguin Freud Library]

P17 :  If one rereads Freud’s address to the Psychoanalytic Congress in Budapest in 1918 (see 11 below), one becomes aware of the fact that many current problems concerning the variation of technical precepts in certain types of cases, as well as the whole trend of the development that at present tries to link psychoanalytic therapy to psychotherapy in the broader sense, were accurately predicted by Freud.

P28: Footnote 16 See Freud’s description of these relationships in various passages of his early papers (See 13 below, p. 334). [This reference is not traceable in the English translation]

P29 Index : The following are the references to Sigmund Freud

7. Sigmund Freud: (1910) The Future Prospects of Psychoanalytic Therapy. Coll. Papers,  II

From the website of the Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society : : Summary available Here or below

Published in the Standard Edition : Volume XI: Five Lectures on Psycho-Analysis, Leonardo,and Other Works (1910)

1910d : Vol 11 : p139

The future prospects of psycho-analytic therapy (1910).

The Future Prospects of Psychoanalytic Therapy was delivered as an address at the opening of the Second Psychoanalytical Congress, held at Nuremberg on March 30 and 31, 1910. We have not come to the end of our resources for combating the neuroses but can soon expect a substantial improvement in therapeutic prospects. This reinforcement will come from 3 directions: 1) from internal progress including advances in analytic knowledge and in technique; 2) from increased authority; and 3) from the general effect of psycho-analytic work. Every advance in knowledge means an increase in therapeutic power. The treatment is made up of 2 parts: what the physician infers and tells the patient, and the patient’s working over of what he has heard. New things are to be learned in the field of symbolism in dreams and in the unconscious. Technique has changed from the cathartic treatment to uncovering the complexes. Authority is necessary since only very few civilized people are capable of existing without reliance on others or are even capable of coming to an independent opinion. The general effect of the work will hopefully result in a Utopian4ike community. All the energies which are consumed in the production of neurotic symptoms serving the purposes of a world of phantasy isolated from reality will help to strengthen the clamor for the changes in our civilization through which we can look for the well-being of future generations.

8. Sigmund Freud (1912) The Dynamics of the Transference. Coll. Papers, II. :

From the website of the Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society : : Summary available here or below

Standard Edition : Volume XII: Case History of Schreber, Papers on Technique,and Other Works (1911-1913)

1912b : Vol 12 : p97

Papers on technique.

The dynamics of transference (1912).

The dynamics of transference are discussed. Each individual, through the combined operation of his innate disposition and the influences brought to bear on him during his early years, has acquired a specific method of his own in his conduct of his erotic life. This produces what might be described as a stereotype plate, which is constantly repeated in the course of the person’s life. If someone’s need for love is not entirely satisfied by reality, he is bound to approach every new person whom he meets with libidinal anticipatory ideas. Thus it is a perfectly normal and intelligible thing that the libidinal cathexis of someone who is partly unsatisfied, a cathexis which is held ready in anticipation, should be directed as well to the figure of the doctor. The cathexis will introduce the doctor into one of the psychical series which the patient has already formed. When anything in the complexive material (in the subject matter of the complex) is suitable for being transferred on to the figure of the doctor, that transference is carried out. It is inferred that the transference idea has penetrated into consciousness in front of any other possible associations because it satisfies the resistance. Transference in the analytic treatment invariably appears in the first instance as the strongest weapon of the resistance, and we may conclude that the intensity and persistence of the transference are an effect and an expression of the resistance. Transference to the doctor is suitable for resistance to the treatment only in so far as it is a negative transference or a positive transference of repressed erotic impulses.

9. Sigmund Freud (1912) Recommendations for Physicians on the Psychoanalytic Method of Treatment. Coll. Papers, II

From the website of the Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society : : Summary available here or below:

Standard Edition : Volume XII: Case History of Schreber, Papers on Technique,and Other Works (1911-1913) :1912e : Vol 12 : p109

Papers on technique : Recommendations to physicians practising psycho-analysis (1912)

Recommendations are presented to physicians practicing psychoanalysis. The first problem is the task of keeping in mind all the innumerable names, dates, detailed memories and pathological products which each patient communicates, and of not confusing them with similar material produced by other patients under treatment simultaneously or previously. The physician should maintain the rule of giving equal notice to everything. This is the necessary counterpart to the demand made on the patient that he should communicate everything that occurs to him without criticism or selection. Freud cannot advise the taking of full notes, the keeping of a shorthand record, etc., during analytic sessions. The notes focus attention, tie up mental activity, and make an unfavorable impression. It is not a good thing to work on a case scientifically while treatment is still proceeding. The most successful cases are those in which one proceeds without any purpose in view. Under present day conditions the feeling that is most dangerous to a psychoanalyst is the therapeutic ambition to achieve, by this novel and much disputed method, something that will produce a convincing effect upon other people. The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him. He should not bring his own feelings into play. Efforts to make use of the analytic treatment to bring about sublimation of instinct are, far from advisable in every case. The patient’s intellectual capacities should not be taxed. Mental activities such as thinking something over or concentrating the attention solve none of the riddles of a neurosis. This can be done only by obeying the psychoanalytic

10. Sigmund Freud (1913) Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psychoanalysis. Coll. Papers, II,

From the website of the Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society : : Summary available here or below:

Standard Edition : Volume XIII: Totem and Taboo and Other Works (1913-1914)

This is probably it: 1913h : Vol 13 : p193 : Observations and examples from analytic practice (1913).

Observations and examples from analytic practice are presented. Twenty-two different dreams are presented. They include: a dream with an unrecognized precipitating cause; the time of day in dreams which stands for the age of the dreamer at some particular period in his childhood; the representation of ages in dreams; the position when waking from a dream; 2 rooms (the female genitals) being made into 1 room; an overcoat as a symbol for a man; disgraced feet (shoes); considerations of representability; dreams about dead people; fragmentary dreams; self-criticism by neurotics; and the appearance in the dream of the symptoms of the illness.

11. Sigmund Freud (1918) Turnings in the Ways of Psychoanalytic Therapy. Coll. Papers, II

Paper delivered to the International Psychoanalytical Congress, Budapest, 1918. The current reference not available.  Quote : Psychoanalysis as an arm for social good was understood to depend upon access, outreach, privilege and social inequality. Freud gave a speech in Budapest, Hungary, at the Fifth International Psychoanalytic Congress in September 1918, in which he appealed for postwar social action by psychoanalysis. Quote from : Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis and Social Justice, 1918-1938 (Book Review), Author:  Danto, Elizabeth Ann,  2005 
Reviewed By:  Marilyn S. Jacobs, PhD, ABPP, Vol. 26 (2), 40-41  Available here

12. Sigmund Freud (1937) Constructions in Analysis. Coll. Papers, V.

From the website of the Institute of the Contemporary Freudian Society : : Summary available here or below:

Standard Edition : 1937d : Vol 23 : Moses and Monotheism, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis and Other Works (1937-1939) : p255 : Constructions in analysis (1937d) Sigmund Freud

Part I. The analyst’s task requires constructions in analysis.

Constructions in Analysis was published in December, 1937. Three examples of constructions in Freud’s writings: the Rat Man, the Wolf Man, and the case history of a homosexual girl. It is familiar ground that the work of analysis aims at inducing the patient to give up the repressions belonging to his early development and to replace them by reactions of a sort that would correspond to a psychically mature condition. With this purpose in view, he must be brought to recollect certain experiences and the affective impulses called up by them which he has for the time being forgotten. His present symptoms and inhibitions are the consequences of repressions of this kind: thus they are a substitute for these things that he has forgotten. What we are in search of is a picture of the patient’s forgotten years that shall be both trustworthy and, in all essential respects, complete. The analyst’s work of construction, or of reconstruction, resembles to a great extent an archaeologist’s excavation of some dwelling place or of some ancient edifice that has been destroyed and buried. Only by analytic technique can we succeed in bringing what is concealed completely to light.

Standard Edition : 1937d : Vol 23 : See above for reference : p260 : Constructions in analysis (1937).

Part II. Evaluating the patient’s reactions to a construction.

Every analyst knows that two kinds of work are carried on side by side. The analyst finishes a piece of construction and communicates it to the subject so that it may work upon him; the analyst then constructs a further piece out of the fresh material pouring in upon him, deals with it in the same way and proceeds in this alternating fashion until the end. We cannot neglect the indications that can be inferred from the patient’s reaction upon offering him one of our constructions, nevertheless a straight Yes or No answer is not to be taken at face value. These Yes and No answers are both considered ambiguous. The direct utterances of the patient after he has been offered a construction afford very little evidence about whether we have been right or wrong. The indirect forms of confirmation are used. One of these is a form of words that is used with very little variation by the most different people: ~’I didn’t ever think.” This can be translated into: ‘Yes, you’re right this time, about my unconscious.” Indirect confirmation from associations that fit in with the content of a construction is likely to be confirmed in the course of the analysis. It is particularly striking when, by means of a parapraxis, a confirmation of this kind insinuates itself into a direct denial. There is no justification for the reproach that we neglect or underestimate the importance of the attitude taken up by those under analysis towards our constructions. We pay attention to them and often derive valuable information from them. But these reactions are rarely unambiguous and give no opportunity for a final judgment. Only the further course of the analysis enables us to decide whether our constructions are correct or unserviceable.

Standard Edition : 1937d : Vol 23 : See above for reference to the summary : p265

Constructions in analysis (1937). Part III. The distinction between historical and material truth.

The path that starts from the analyst’s construction ought to end in the patient’s recollection; but it does not always lead so far. Quite often we do not succeed in bringing the patient to recollect what has been repressed. Instead of that, if the analysis is carried out correctly, we produce in him an assured conviction of the truth of the construction which achieves the same therapeutic result as a recaptured memory. Freud is struck by the manner in which the communication of an apt construction has evoked a surprising phenomenon in the patients. They have had lively recollections called up in them, but what they have recollected has not been the event that was the subject of the construction, but details relating to that subject. The upward drive of the repressed, stirred into activity by the putting forward of the construction, has striven to carry the important memory traces into consciousness; but a resistance has succeeded, not in stopping that movement, but in displacing it on to adjacent objects of minor significance. These recollections might have been described as hallucinations if a belief in their actual presence had been added to their clearness. Freud hypothesizes that in delusions, the dynamic process is that the turning away from reality is exploited by the upward drive of the repressed in order to force its content into consciousness, while the resistances stirred up by this process and the trend to wish fulfillment are responsible for the distortion and displacement of what is recollected.

13. Sigmund Freud : Aus den Anfängen der Psychoanalyse. London: Imago Publishing Co. Ltd., 1950 : This book contains selections from a correspondence between Sigmund Freud and the Berlin physician and biologist Wilhelm Fliess and some notes and manuscripts on the etiology of the neuroses, anxiety, melancholia and hysteria. The letters presented here are those which Freud addressed to Fliess. They were discovered in an antique book market together with other effects of Fliess. The letters which Fliess sent to Freud have not been found. Freud was between 31 and 46 years of age when these letters and manuscripts were written. This was the time when he first established himself as a specialist for nervous diseases. He discussed with his friend Fliess his plans, successes and failures. The letters contain not only those ideas which finally were elaborated into Freud’s psychoanalytic theories but also the bypaths and false starts, thoughts and conclusions which he later rejected. Marie Bonaparte, Anna Freud and Ernst Kris arranged this material which is published in English translation.

Other references:

Seminar I: Freud’s papers on technique: 1953-1954 : begins on 13th January 1954 : Jacques Lacan or here

Introduction and reply to Jean Hyppolite’s presentation of Freud’s ‘Verneinung’ & the commentary : 10th February 1954 : Jacques Lacan & Jean Hyppolite or here

Seminar III: The Psychoses: 1955-1956: from 16th November 1955: Jacques Lacan or here

The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power:10th-13th July 1958 : Jacques Lacan: Available here

Seminar VI: Desire and its interpretation: 1958-1959 : from 12th November 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here

Seminar X: The Anxiety (or Dread): 1962-1963: begins 14th November 1962: Jacques Lacan: Text in English & References : Available here

Seminar XIV: The logic of phantasy: 1966-1967: begins 16th November 1966 : Jacques Lacan : Available here

Écrits : 1966 : Jacques Lacan or here


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Julia Evans

Practicing Lacanian Psychoanalyst in London & Sandwich, Kent


Further posts:

Some Lacanian history here

Of the clinic here

Topology and the clinic  here

Dreams  here

Translation Working Group here

By Ernst Kris  here

By Melitta Schmideberg here

By Sigmund Freud here

Notes on texts by Sigmund Freud here

By Jacques Lacan here

Notes on texts by Jacques Lacan here

By Julia Evans here