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What is Psychological Disturbance

What is Psychological Disturbance

Psychoanalysis considers neurosis to be due to failure or partial failure of the defence mechanisms.  Id impulses break through, but are still distorted by counter-instinctual forces imparted by the ego and superego, accounting for the sometimes unusual nature of neurotic symptoms.  Overuse of defence may also be a factor.  This may result in a heavy investiture in such protective measures, leaving little left over for constructive activity.  Lassitude and chronic fatigue are common features of neurosis.  Psychosis is thought to be due primarily to a weak ego, poorly formed or with a low level of psychic energy.  As such, the ego may be overwhelmed by id impulses and subject to the hallucinatory and delusionary nature of primary process thinking.  Personality disorders may be acquired in a variety of ways:  through a weak superego, extreme fixations at stages of psychosexual development or, again, overuse of particular defence mechanisms.

To alleviate psychological disturbance, some of the principal aims of psychoanalysis are self-awareness – to make the unconscious conscious – and:

to strengthen the ego, to make it more independent of the superego, to widen its field of perception and enlarge its organisation, so that it can appropriate  fresh portions of the id.  Where id was, there ego shall be. (SE, XXII.80)

Abreaction may, thereby, be sought to encourage a redistribution of the flow of psychic energy in favour of the ego.  Similarly, defences may be challenged, dismantled or rechannelled.

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