The structural formulation of the psychoanalytic method

Psychoanalytic treatment consists, in essence, in facilitating the reactivation of the pathogenic unconscious conflicts in the treatment situation by means of a systematic analysis of the defensive operations directed against them. This leads to the gradual emergence of repressed impulses, with the possibility of elaborating them in relation to the analyst, and their eventual adaptive integration into the adult ego. Freud (25> had described the concept of 'sublimation' as an adaptive transformation of unconscious drives; drive derivatives, converted into a consciously tolerable form, are permitted gratification in a symbolic way while their origin remains unconscious. The result of this process is an adaptive non-defensive compromise formation between impulse and defence. In analysis, the gradual integration into the patient's conscious ego of unconscious wishes and desires from the past and the understanding of the phantasized threats and dangers connected with them, facilitates their gradual elaboration and sublimatory expression in the consulting room and in everyday life as well.

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