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Theories of self-destruction

Theories of self-destruction Conclusion Our aim has been to gather material for a classification of theories of selfdestruction. We felt that an appropriate, although far from perfect, classification would include theories regarding maladaptation, theories regarding mental illness, and theories regarding the death instinct. Of these, adaptational theories are most in line with current psychiatric “dynamic” thinking and thus seem to us to be most appealing. However, we would enter a word of caution that because these theories reflect what is currently fashionable, one might end to favor them at the expense of other theories which have a good deal to offer. The conceptions which relate selfdestructive behavior to mental illness seem to us to be an example of a useful formulation which might be so neglected. Our own feeling is that to relate selfdestructive behavior to mental illness has already proven quite profitable and that further efforts along these lines might be quite valuable. The death instinct, as usual, is the most troublesome of formulations. Most present-day psychiatrists and psychoanalysts dismiss the death instinct, indicating that it has few valuable applications and that, in any case, “it has never been proved.” We, however, would like to point out that while it “has never been proved,” it has also never been disproved and that it has stimulated many worthwhile theoretical and clinical discussions. We also feel that any model which provides an opportunity to understand complex and important phenomena deserves attention. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Journal of Psychoanalysis Springer Journals

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
1972 The Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
ISSN
0002-9548
eISSN
1573-6741
DOI
10.1007/BF01872484
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Conclusion Our aim has been to gather material for a classification of theories of selfdestruction. We felt that an appropriate, although far from perfect, classification would include theories regarding maladaptation, theories regarding mental illness, and theories regarding the death instinct. Of these, adaptational theories are most in line with current psychiatric “dynamic” thinking and thus seem to us to be most appealing. However, we would enter a word of caution that because these theories reflect what is currently fashionable, one might end to favor them at the expense of other theories which have a good deal to offer. The conceptions which relate selfdestructive behavior to mental illness seem to us to be an example of a useful formulation which might be so neglected. Our own feeling is that to relate selfdestructive behavior to mental illness has already proven quite profitable and that further efforts along these lines might be quite valuable. The death instinct, as usual, is the most troublesome of formulations. Most present-day psychiatrists and psychoanalysts dismiss the death instinct, indicating that it has few valuable applications and that, in any case, “it has never been proved.” We, however, would like to point out that while it “has never been proved,” it has also never been disproved and that it has stimulated many worthwhile theoretical and clinical discussions. We also feel that any model which provides an opportunity to understand complex and important phenomena deserves attention.

Journal

The American Journal of PsychoanalysisSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 1972

Keywords: Clinical Psychology; Psychotherapy; Psychoanalysis

References