On Freud's ''Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning''

Editor : Gabriela Legorreta, Editor : Lawrence J. Brown

On Freud's ''Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning''

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : May 2016
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 286
  • Category :
    Psychoanalysis
  • Catalogue No : 37103
  • ISBN 13 : 9781782203025
  • ISBN 10 : 1782203028
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This book is a collection of papers by leading contemporary psychoanalysts who comment on the continuing important relevance of Freud’s (1911) paper, Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning. The contributors gathered here represent current European, Latin American, and North American perspectives that elaborate the continuing value of Two Principles for present-day psychoanalytic thinking. Each author examines Freud’s paper through a personal lens that is coloured by the psychoanalytic culture from which he or she comes. In each instance, the writers’ chapters demonstrate the heuristic value of Two Principles for twenty-first century psychoanalytic theory and technique.

A common thread that runs through all the chapters is the view that this brief paper by Freud, which he humbly introduced by stating, “The deficiencies of this short paper, which is preparatory rather than expository ...”, is a masterpiece that contains within it the seeds of much of his later writing. The distinction he draws between the pleasure principle and the reality principle are profound and raise questions that still preoccupy analysis today. A central concern of many of this book’s papers has to do with those factors that account for the emergence of the reality principle in early mental life. Freud only pays lip service to the role of the infant’s object relations, especially to its mother, in the evolution of the capacity to know and tolerate reality, which represents a vital adaptation yet paradoxically also exposes the individual to the painful emotional realities that are part of the human condition.

Reviews and Endorsements

‘It is comforting to realise that a paper written more than a century ago can still elicit new thinking. That psychoanalysts can still find matter for discussion, but also, and perhaps more importantly, for elaboration from a rather short paper by Freud is testimony to the richness of the heritage left by the Viennese. In this book, one will find original clinical and theoretical reflection from a variety of standpoints, all in a dialogue or sometimes a controversy with Freud. Many of the authors have chosen to stand on the shoulders of Bion; others took a more direct route. All, I believe, point to the fact that the metapsychological conception, so well illustrated by Freud’s Formulations, is irreplaceable for understanding what psychoanalysts encounter in their practice and what they can do about it. Modern formulations are at variance from those expounded by Freud in 1911, as Freud himself also was later in his life; they are also at variance with one another. All had nevertheless to come to terms, time and again, with the clear and provocative, but always seminal thinking that went into the original formulations of 1911, no less than before or after.’
- Dominique Scarfone, MD, Full Professor, Université de Montreal; Training and Supervising Analyst, Institut Psychanalytique de Montréal (Canadian Psychoanalytic Society and Institute)

‘In this fascinating book, Gabriela Legorreta and Lawrence J. Brown have brought ten renowned analysts from three continents and different psychoanalytic schools to a crossroad in Freud’s thinking. Expanding on as well as challenging the classical separation between fantasy and reality and their related cognitive functions, these authors explore the multiple strands with which dreaming and thinking, past and present interact, and allow for the dynamic fluidity of mental processes that create and permeate psychic life. With Freud’s paper as its centrepiece, this book inspires a fascinating exchange between the major developments in psychoanalysis today and takes our understanding of the human mind one step further.’
- Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, PhD, Professor for Clinical Psychology, University of Zürich, and training and supervising analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute

About the Editor(s)

Gabriela Legorreta is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Montreal Psychoanalytic Society (French section of the Canadian Psychoanalytic Society). She is the Chair of the Psychoanalytic Bridges with Latin America study group, a board member of the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, and is in charge of the Spanish section of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Language Book reviews of the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. She is also a member of the Publications Committee of the IPA.

Lawrence J. Brown is a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute (BPSI) in both Child and Adult psychoanalysis. He is on the faculty of BPSI as well as the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis and also a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has been on the North American Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and is currently on the Editorial Board of Psychoanalytic Inquiry. He was also Co-chair of the Bion in Boston 2009 international conference.

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