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June 1956

Energy and Structure in Psychoanalysis

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1956;75(6):671-672. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1956.02330240109012

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Colby attempts to integrate psychoanalytic theory into the more general field of theoretical science. He does this through the utilization of the terminology of modern physical science to describe the phenomena of psychic activity. The major problem which he faces is the explanation of directional aspects of psychic activity. The organization of perceptual material, the processing of thought material, and the determination of the course of activity are all approached in terms of movements of psychic or cathectic energy. Colby constructs a cyclic-circular model to portray the directional system of mental activity. This structural system represents his attempt to solve the basic dilemma of all psychic theories based upon pure energy postulates. In some types of theoretical physical systems, structural limitations and entropy considerations will, taken together, permit prediction of directional changes. Statistical mechanical movements are codified in the second law of thermodynamics. However, Colby rejects the second law as

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