The Foundations of Psychiatry

By Silvano Arieti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 37

CLASSICAL PSYCHOANALYTIC
SCHOOL
A. The Theory of the Neuroses

Marvin G. Drellich


Introduction

IN 1945 Fenichel published a 703-page volume, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis.20 This encyclopedic treatise quickly became a standard reference since it contained an exhaustive survey of the classical psycho‐ analytic literature to that date. The subsequent 25 years have produced an unending stream of publications in this area, many of which are of superior merit and a few are truly seminal. Obviously a summary of the classical psychoanalytic theory of neuroses in one concise chapter must be regarded as merely an extended outline.

This outline will attempt an overview of the major theories that are the core concepts in contemporary classical psychoanalysis. The highlights of the historical evolution of these theories will be traced, and those concepts that are most extensively and effectively used by contemporary psychoanalysts will be indicated.


Preliminary Definitions

The terms "neuroses" and "psychoneuroses" are used here as essentially synonymous. They refer to the group of psychiatric illnesses characterized by prominent symptoms that have no significant somatic origin. The symptoms include disturbances of feelings (anxiety, depression, guilt), disturbances of thought (obsessions), and disturbances of behavior (com

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