Ego Psychology, Modern Structural Theory, American Object Relations

Third Year Adult Psychoanalytic Training (APT)
2023-24, 1st Trimester — Fridays, 3:30-5:00pm
John De Mott, DO
Martin Bullard, LICSW


“Ego Psychology” is a theory of mind concerned with the psychic negotiations between somatic experience and demands of the external world. Much of the language of psychoanalysis comes from this era of theorizing. As such, an understanding of the Ego Psychological perspective offers much to undertaking and articulating psychoanalytic processes, no matter what school of psychoanalysis a clinician may practice from.

Course learning objectives: After taking this course, participants will be able to understand and employ clinically the following ego psychological techniques and correspondences in clinical psychoanalysis:

  • The five psychoanalytic viewpoints necessary for understanding a mental event:
    Dynamic, Economic, Structural, Genetic, Adaptive
  • Body and Ego Development
  • The Infantile & Transference Neurosis matrix
  • Defense & Resistance
  • Transference & the Frame
  • The “adaptive point of view” and “the social” in psychoanalysis

September 8, 2023

[19 pages]

Overview and discussion of the ego psychological point of view with attention to the five psychoanalytic points of view. Pine, the great synthesizer, in one his last articles before his death, surveys the history of psychoanalytic thought through the lens of his career. Rappaport & Gill synthesize the fundamentals of the ego psychological theory in ONE short paper. At least read the conclusion!

Pine, F. (2020). On Observation, Theory, and the Mind of the Working Clinician. Psychoanal. Psychol., 37(2):89-97

Rapaport, D. & Gill, M.M. (1959). The Points of View and Assumptions of Metapsychology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 40:153-162.

September 15, 2023

[26 pages]

After (hopefully) establishing some utility of the ego psychological point of view, in class two we consider foundational concepts from a primary source and an adept mid-century innovator.

Freud, S. (1911) Formulations on the Two Principles of Mental Functioning. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud 12:213-226.

Sandler, J. (1969) Towards a Basic Psychoanalytic Model. IJP 50:79-90.

September 22, 2023 — Contemporary application of the ego psychological point of view to issues of race with special attention to white supremacy

[17 pages]

Contemporary application of the ego psychological point of view to issues of race with special attention to white supremacy. Don Moss, a contemporary visionary clinician at the creative surface of psyche and social, wrote an article so controversial that Tucker Carlson picked it up.

Moss, D. (2021) On Having Whiteness. JAPA 69:355-371.

September 29, 2023 — Historical iterations and applications

[43 pages]

With an overview of the history and proof of concept out of the way, lets dive into issues of how the ego psychological point of view finds application. Waelder, and Loewald bring us closer to the contemporary clinical picture.

Waelder, R. (2007) The Principle of Multiple Function: Observations on Over-Determination. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 76:75-92.

Loewald, H.W. (1979). The Waning of the Oedipus Complex. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:751-775

October 6, 2023 — Development and Defense

[20 pages]

Development and Defense are fundamental contributions of the ego psychological point of view—essentially that we are always “persons in process” & that our psyches develop in concert with our bodies.

Freud, A. (1971) The Infantile Neurosis—Genetic and Dynamic Considerations. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 26:79-90.

Freud, A. (1981) The Concept of Developmental Lines—Their Diagnostic Significance. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 36:129-136.

October 13, 2023 — Transference

[56 pages]

Clinical psychoanalysis does not exist without a notion of transference.

Bird, B. (1972) Notes on Transference: Universal Phenomenon and Hardest Part of Analysis. JAPA 20:267-301.

Sandler, J.; Holder, A.; Kawenoka, M.; Kennedy, H. E.; & Neurath, L. (1969) Notes on Some Theoretical and Clinical Aspects of Transference. IJP 50:633-645.

Sandler, J. (1996) Comments on the Psychodynamics of Interaction. Psychoanalytic Inquiry 16:88-95.

October 20, 2023 — Contemporary applications and technique

[48 pages]

We will consider experience near applications of various influential ego psychological theorists as we apply them to our own material.

Brenner, C. (2002). Conflict, Compromise Formation, and Structural Theory. PAQ, 71(3):397-417.

Busch, F. (1996). The Ego and Its Significance In Analytic Interventions. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:1073-1099

October 27, 2023 — Contemporary applications and technique (continued)

[47 pages]

We will consider experience near applications of various influential ego psychological theorists as we apply them to our own material.

Abend, S.M. (2005). Analyzing Intrapsychic Conflict: Compromise Formation as an Organizing Principle. Psychoanal Q., 74(1):5-25.

Abend, S.M. (2007). Therapeutic Action in Modern Conflict Theory. Psychoanal Quarterly, 76s:1417-1442

November 3, 2023 — American Object Relations

[24 pages]

Margaret Mahler and Fred Pine (the first theorist we considered) iterated and theorized a developmental model having to do with correspondences between (physical) separation and (psychic) individuation. She gives us the language of symbiosis, practicing, rapproachment and a developmental framework for psychoanalytic of psychopathology.

Mahler, M.S. (1967) On Human Symbiosis and the Vicissitudes of Individuation. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 15:740-763.

Bullard, C.M. (2023) Development Chart

Bullard, C.M. (2023) Mahler Separation – Individuation Subphases

November 10, 2023 — Contemporary perspective on object relations in clinical work

[33 pages]

We will consider the approaches of two different analysts using object relations concepts, one of whom is a self-psychologist.

Ogden, T.H. (1983). The Concept of Internal Object Relations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 64:227-241.

Kernberg, O.F. (2015) Narcissistic Defenses in the Distortion of Free Association and Their Underlying Anxieties. Psychoanalytic Quarterly 84:625-642.

November 17, 2023 — Integration

[38 pages]

Chodorow references some of the previous authors and concepts in her take on these fundamental issues in human sexuality.

Chodorow, N.J. (1992). Heterosexuality as a Compromise Formation: Reflections on the Psychoanalytic Theory of Sexual Development. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 15:267-304.