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March 1965

Psychoanalytic Concepts and the Structural Theory.

Arch Intern Med. 1965;115(3):369-370. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03860150113033

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This is the third monograph to be published by the Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. This slim, provocative volume compares the topographical and structural models of the psyche in a clear and coherent style. The authors cogently demonstrate that these two models are contradictory dichotomies which are incompatable with each other.

The topographical theory was first presented in Chapter VII of Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. According to the theory, there are three systems of the mind, each of which is characterized by its relationship to consciousness. The system Unconscious (Ucs) comprises those elements which are not accessible to consciousness. The system Preconsciousness (Pcs) includes those elements which are readily accessible to consciousness. Finally, the system Consciousness (Cs) includes whatever is conscious at any given moment. It becomes very apparent that this heuristic model cannot explain the clinically observable data concerning intrapsychic conflict.

The structural theory divides the mind into

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