Freud’s Concept of Repression and Defense, Its Theoretical and Observational Language
Freud’s Concept of Repression and Defense was first published in 1961. Freud’s concept of repression and defense (he used the terms almost interchangeably) is central to the whole theory of psychoanalysis, yet his use of the terms has never been clearly or fully understood by psychologists or psychoanalysts. Nowhere in his writing does he state the meaning precisely and unequivocally. To clarify the concept, Professor Madison, a psychologist, examines the whole body of Freud’s writing with reference to his use of the terms. Through his study, which uses a generous number of quotations from Freud’s own work, the author provides a comprehensive statement of the concept. Professor Madison demonstrates that repression and defense are inseparable aspects of a single concept, one which played the principal generative role in the development of every main concept in Freud’s theory and which functioned as the keystone of the finished structure. With his clarification of the basic concept, Professor Madison demonstrates the possibility of formulating a theoretical and observational language for repression and defense directly from Freud’s writings, a necessary preliminary for the development of measurement and validation procedures for the concept. As he points out, psychoanalysts today have no way of objectively measuring the value of a given therapy for patients, and appropriate measurement techniques are greatly needed in order to evaluate treatment methods.
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