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April 1962

Ego Autonomy, Autokinesis and Recovery from Psychosis

Author Affiliations

Department of Research, The Menninger Foundation.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1962;6(4):288-293. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1962.01710220030004

This paper has a double purpose. One is to present a test procedure which provides a measure of recovery from mental illness following somatotherapy, and as such, provides a prognostic tool. The other is that it provides supportive evidence for conceptual additions to psychoanalytic theory.

In another paper,4 I defined a principle of ego organization called the ego-close—ego-distance principle. This principle carries forward a long history of interest in typing normal and abnormal people. A curious and striking commonality was found in the descriptive phrases of these typologies, which can be given conceptual meaning within psychoanalytic theory. This new concept, ego-closeness—ego-distance, was given operational meaning by defining ego-closeness as a high dependence on stimuli from the external environment and a compelling need to invest attention-cathexis in external objects. The experience of "self" is more in terms of external values and circumstances. Ego-distance implies

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