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Kris, E.  (1953).   Introduction to and footnotes in Freud, Sigmund:  Aus den Anfängen der Psychoanalyse.  London:  Imago Publishing Company.  English:  The origins of psychoanalysis. New York:  Basic Books.

Kris provides an extensive discussion regarding Freud’s collegial relationship with Wilhelm Fliess in the period from 1887 to 1902.  The first part discusses Fliess’s theory of the “nasal reflex neurosis” and his correspondence with Freud, whose scientific interests were influenced by Josef Breuer.  The second part outlines Freud’s professional training in medicine with a focus on biology and neurology, as well as his study with Ernst Bruecke, Theodor Meynert, Jean-Martin Charcot, and Adolph Baginsky. After abandoning Breuer’s “concentration technique and elements of suggestion,” Freud developed the psychoanalytic technique.   The third part focuses on the role infantile sexuality plays in neurosis formation.  Freud’s self-analysis revealed the significance of replacing the abandonment of the seduction theory with cognizance of infantile sexuality.  Self-analysis revealed that the social-environmental-sexual aspects of the child are more significant in determining psychological processes than physiological factors could be.   However, Freud did believe that the relation between “psychological and biochemical processes” required further exploration, and that it would not interfere with the psychoanalytic process.


Kris, E.  (1952).  Notes on the development and on some current problems of psychoanalytic child psychology. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 26, 24-46.

In this article, Kris examined several significant developments in psychoanalytic thinking, which occurred after the early 1920s, to reassess attitudes toward child development.  These included:  (1) how “typical” traumatic experiences could determine adequate levels of adaptation to tension, anxiety, etc. for the child to develop appropriate defense mechanisms to cope with its environment, (2) a consideration of early object relationships, (3) cases of adult analyses and child observations, and (4) how psychoanalytic ego psychology can provide new strategies in the treatment of children.


Kris, E.  (1950).  On preconscious mental processes.  Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 19, 540-560.  (Presented at the Panel Meeting on Theories of Psychoanalysis at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in Montreal, May 1949).

Kris indicates that ego psychology has investigated aspects of preconscious mental activity in greater detail than in the history of psychoanalysis.  More specifically, developments in therapeutic techniques in relation to ego psychology have revealed an increased interest in the psychic aspects of behavior especially in the “relationship of preconscious to unconscious material in therapy.” Some of the theoretical problems re-examined in this context include:  (1) problems and assumptions, (2) recognition, recall, and integration, (3) discharge and regression, and (4) reactions to reaching consciousness. Kris concludes that when ego functions are integrated, the ego can achieve a quality of passive receptiveness of instinctual impulses, thereby permitting controlled regression.


Kris, E.  (1950). Psychoanalysis and developmental psychology. Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 6, 48-58.

Participants and their topics of discussion included:   (1) Heinz Hartmann and current issues in developmental psychology, (2) Willi Hoffer and the body ego and its development, (3) Rudolf Loewenstein and the phallic phase and its relation to conflict and autonomous ego development, (4) Mrs. Beata Rank and early ego development, (5) Rene Spitz and the significance of infant observation for analysis, and (6) Ernst Kris and the development of psychoanalytic child psychology. Kris reports that the participants agreed that the psychoanalytic study of the child played an important role in “preventive psychiatry,” and he traces the progress made back to the 1920s.  The current changes in psychoanalytic thinking can be summarized as follows: the acknowledgement of the significance of aggressive drives becomes the departure point to observe defense mechanisms, which are manifested in “individual reactions.” Finally, it is important to focus on the pre-oedipal stage in order to identify the etiology of neuroses. 


Kris, E.  (1950). The significance of Freud’s earliest discoveries.  International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 31, 108-116.  (Presented at the 16th International Psychoanalytic Congress, Zurich, August, 1949),

Kris presents a discussion of three unpublished writings of Freud’s:  Aus den Anfaengen der Psychoanalyse, Briefe an Wilhelm Fliess, and Abhandlungen und Notizen aus den Jahren 1887-1902.  At the time of the writing of this article, an English edition of these letters, manuscripts, clinical notes, and various drafts of papers were in preparation. Based upon an examination of these materials, Kris elucidates how Freud’s thought needs to be examined in the context of his physiological training with the study of clinical neurology. Working with Charcot and Breuer influenced Freud’s theories on hysteria, neuroses, infantile sexuality, and the formulation of his metapsychology.  Based on this collaboration, Freud developed two significant points:  (1) the “connection between conflict, defense (repression), and symptom”, and (2) the “law of constancy,” which argues that the central nervous system strives to maintain equilibrium of tension.  This theory led to the theory of “abreaction,” which it seeks to define a series of “psychical states.”   Portions of these writings are excerpted to reveal Freud’s re-evaluation of his own ideas.


Kris, E.  (1951).   Development of ego psychology.  Samiksa, 5, 153-168.

Kris outlines the development of ego psychology in the context of the basic assumption made by Freud in the early 1920s regarding the relationship “between mental conflict and mental illness;” however, Carl G. Jung and Karl Abraham raised the question as to how psychoanalysis could deal with psychoses.  The significance of psychoanalytic ego psychology aims at prevention and influences psychotherapy, mental health techniques, education, and psychosomatic medicine as it pertains to the “law of constancy.”  Although Freud’s writings reveal inconsistencies, they signify the importance of adaptation to clinical findings.  Late in life, Freud introduced the assumption of how aggression plays a role in mental conflict as well as the relationship between developing ego functions and instinctual drives.   In this way, ego psychology assumed a significant role in the observation of child development, especially as it relates to oedipal and pre-oedipal conflicts.  Kris concludes that undocumented findings in psychoanalytic ego psychology will spurn further investigation focusing on empirical research.



Kris, E., Dollard, J., & Ogburn, W. F.  (1951). Is Freud up to date? UniversityChicagoRound Table, No. 681.

Although the panel disagrees with aspects of Freud’s teaching, they conclude that Freud’s writings on anxiety and the unconscious role of emotion and repression have had a definitive effect in psychiatric treatments.  Karl Menninger’s University lecture, “The Religion of a Psychiatrist,” is also printed here.


Kris, E.  (1951).  Ego psychology and interpretation in psychoanalytic therapy. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 20, 15-30; also in:  (1953) Yearbook Psychoanalysis, 8, 158-171.

Psychoanalytic ego psychology or structural psychology was the result of the mutual relationship between psychoanalytic technique and theory as a result of the following clinical observations. First, in the study of psychoses, Freud identified the ego as a “psychic organization,” and second, unconscious guilt in patients led to significant insight to aspects of the superego.  The basis of ego psychology is foreseen in Freud’s paper, “On Technique.”  It is significant to note that Freud later replaced the “concentration technique” with the free association technique.  In the 1920s, Freud foreshadowed the basis of ego psychology by advising that resistance, not content, be analyzed first. As a result, ego psychology caused the psychoanalytic technique in the treatment of neuroses to undergo significant change. For instance, resistance is not only identified in terms of its cause, but it is also identified as a defense mechanism as it relates to corresponding behaviors. In one of his final papers, Freud rejected the analyst’s imposition of interpretation especially in cases dealing with resistance, and he emphasized mutual engagement between analyst and patient. Kris cites Sandor Ferenczi’s description of the interrelationship between “attention, intuition, and self-analysis” in the context of the analyst’s interpretation.  Finally, several cases are mentioned. 


Kris, E., Hartmann, H., & Loewenstein, R. M. (1951).  Some psychoanalytic comments on “culture and personality.”  In G. B. Wilbur & W. Muensterberger (Eds.), Psychoanalysis and culture.  (pp. 3-31).  New York:  International Universities Press.

In the context of culture and personality, the authors discuss generalizations of psychoanalytic propositions and how ego psychology might well provide the development of propositions for an interdisciplinary study with anthropology. As a result, “terminological distinctions” are given for the terms:  biological, instinctual, ego, id, superego, maturation, and environment as well as the differences in the collection of data, and its utilization in both disciplines.  Finally, the authors adopt the term, “institutional regulation,” to indicate behavior under a set of circumstances and not behavior observed within a specific culture.     


Kris, E.  (1951).  Opening remarks on psychoanalytic child psychology. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 6, 9-17.

The objective of this paper is to elucidate the problems of psychoanalytic child psychology based on an increased interest in the early 1920s, which paralleled the decisive development of psychoanalysis.  At this point in time, psychoanalysis focuses on the pre-oedipal experiences of the child and its etiological significance, thereby moving away from the Freudian perspective of the topographical design of the psychic apparatus to structural elements indicative of ego psychology.  In this way, the etiology of past experience could be examined in terms of current personality patterns, i.e., how childhood experiences shaped an individual’s personality as well as how the present can be understood in terms of the past. Psychoanalytic ego psychology developed by examining defense mechanisms in the context of the danger situation during the latency period and subsequent phases of development to formulate a theory of learning.  In this way, the development of ego functions permits the child to emerge from conflict and become autonomous.  Kris indicates that tests and measurements could be used to determine the development and maturation of ego functions at a given phase of childhood, and could become useful aides in the diagnosis of problems based on the objective assessment of a child’s aptitudes. (Issues mentioned here are discussed in greater detail in “Notes on the Development and on Some Current Problems of Psychoanalytic Child Psychology,” The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 5, 1950.)


Kris, E.  (1951).  Some comments and observations on early autoerotic activities. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 6, 95-116.

(Presented at the New York Psychoanalytic Society on February 13, 1951).

In the context of a psychoanalytic approach, Kris outlines how early autoerotic activities can be understood as signs of growth, maturation, and impediment. Autoerotic activity is understood in terms of the complex development of a child’s sensory imprints of the mother’s feeding to finger sucking, to generalized affection, and finally to the genital zone.  At each stage, rhythm plays a significant role.


Kris, E.  (1952).  Introduction.  In:  P. Greenacre, Trauma, growth, and personality.  (pp. ix-xii). New York:  Norton. 

The theme of Greenacre’s book focuses on an investigation of psychoanalytic issues and their shortcomings as well as the significance of case histories.  Although discussions of types of psychoanalytic techniques are generalized, Greenacre provides terse and focused critiques.  For example, Greenacre discusses how psychoanalytic therapy can be successful in treating “severe” cases. The controversy surrounding the exploration of the patient’s “infantile past” at the expense of examining the patient’s current life is brought into focus by what Greenacre termed, the “telescopic manner.”  Significant is Greenacre’s integration of an individual’s physiological development with his/her psychological development, which result from a variety of experiences.  Finally, Greenacre discusses the importance of “empirical validation” of hypotheses.


Kris, E.  (1952).  Psychoanalytic explorations in art.   New York:  International Universities Press, Inc.

This volume consists of a collection of essays comprising twenty-five years of research in the psychology of art and clinical psychoanalysis, and it contains an extensive bibliography as well as seventy-nine illustrations of the art of the insane.  Part I outlines the psychological and artistic approaches to the study of art, aesthetics, and sociological aspects of an artist and the limitations of psychoanalysis in such studies.  Part II provides an inquiry into the art of the insane, specifically psychotic artists of the Middle Ages and the 18th century, and ends with an inquiry into the function of drawings of a schizophrenic artist.  (Artists included are:  Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Lorenzo Bernini, and Ernst Josephson.)  Part III examines the psychological aspects of the comic and caricature, and their relation to ego psychology.  The volume concludes with a more theoretical treatment of the psychology of literary criticism and the psychology of creative processes.


Kris, E., Coleman, R.W. & Provence, S.  (1953).  The study of variations of early parental attitudes. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 8, 20-47.

The authors hypothesize that the study of variations of early parental attitudes can demonstrate an informed understanding of the “development of the individual as member of a specific group or culture.”  The presentation of case histories elucidate several points:  (1) there exist differences in parental attitudes during pregnancy and infancy, (2) these differences will determine the development of the child’s personality, though this is difficult to measure, and (3) adaptability to the growing child’s needs is significant to enable the child to be acknowledged as an individual with a unique personality.  Several case reports and a bibliography are included.


Kris, E., Hartmann, H., & Loewenstein, R. M.  (1953). The function of theory in psychoanalysis.  In R.M. Loewenstein (Ed.), Drives, affects, behavior (pp. 13-37).  New York: International Universities Press.

The authors argue that psychoanalytic theory and observational data are interwoven, and require the analyst to make inferences based on theoretical assumptions.  “Clinical findings” are not only rooted in observable data, but are also based in the context of explicit and implicit assumptions of a hypothetical framework. Misunderstandings of psychoanalytic theory often result in overlooking Freud’s reformulation of psychoanalytic propositions, and result in the emphasis of a set of propositions to the point of simplifying others. 


Kris, E.  (1953).  Psychoanalysis and the study of creative imagination. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 29, 334-351. (Delivered as Freud Lecture under the auspices of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, May 6, 1952 at The New York Academy of Medicine.  Manuscript received September 1952.)

Kris’ objective is to outline the relationship between psychoanalysis and the creative imagination as it relates to art. Two aspects are considered:  first, the relationship between psychiatry and medicine replaced the boundaries between the “physical” and the “mental” so that the prevention of mental disturbances is emphasized instead of therapy; and second, recognition of the interdisciplinary character of psychoanalysis with disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, etc.  The attempt to foster an integrative approach is perhaps Freud’s most significant contribution in examining the development of the creative imagination. Kris outlined three areas for discussion.  First, thematic generalization is “story-centered” and uses uniform narration as in myth, fairy tales, novels, etc.  Secondly, emotive or esthetic potential as understood in the context of dreams.  And finally, creative communication can refer to the creative process of the therapeutic technique as well as the suspension of the ego in artistic creation. 


Kris, E.  (1954). New contributions to the study of Freud’s The interpretation of dreams:  A critical essay. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2, 180-191.

Kris indicates that in the preface to Völkerpsychologie  (1911-1920), Wilhelm Wundt wrote that psychology should no longer be confined to the “psychophysical approach,” which coincided with the four-month old publication of Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of dreams (1900). This significant departure from experimental psychology to psychopathology and psychotherapy through the study of dreams resulted from two points:  1) the investigation of the “structure of problems,” and 2) the investigation of the unconscious to gain insight into the “structure of personal conflict.”  Although Freud sought to improve upon Josef Breuer’s approach, which resulted in the treatise Psychology for the Neurologist and later translated by James Strachey under the title, Project for a Scientific Psychology, Freud abandoned his reliance on theories of neurophysiology and instead focused on the individual’s childhood.  However, Freud later relinquished the “seduction theory” as responsible for the adult’s neuroses.  Significant attention is given to Freud’s collegial relationship to Wilhelm Fliess as well as Mr. Strachey’s translations to reveal Freud’s revisionist thinking.

Kris, E.  (1954).  (Chairman).   Problems of infantile neurosis:  A discussion. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 9, 16-71.  (Special all-day Meeting of the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, at Arden House, on Saturday, May 8, 1954.)

Kris moderated the discussions, which focused on the broad and varied topic of infantile neurosis.  Infantile neurosis can be understood either in terms of an adult’s reconstruction of infantile neurosis during analysis or the actual neuroses of childhood as observed in stages of a child’s development while in treatment. Participants provided extensive discussion pertaining to mother-child interaction but indicated that it is not the cause of a child’s neurosis or psychosis.  Significant progress in the psychoanalysis of child development can be ascertained in two symposia, notably, the International Congress atAmsterdamof 1951 and the meeting at Stockbridge in 1950. Discussants who submitted their ideas to Miss Anna Freud included:  Phyllis Greenacre, Heinz Hartmann, Bertram D. Lewin, Sibylle Escalona, Rudolph M. Loewenstein, Edith Jacobson, Rene A. Spitz, Robert Waelder, Charles Davison, Judith S. Kestenberg, Marianne Kris, Grace McLean Abbate, Mary O’Neil Hawkins, Anita Bell, Bela Mittelmann, Margaret S. Mahler, and Gustav Bychowski. 


Kris, E.  (1955).  Neutralization and sublimation: Observations on young children. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 10, 30-46. (Presented as a contribution to the Symposium on Sublimation at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, in New York City on December 4, 1954.)

The departure point for Kris is terminology, i.e., the term “sublimation” does not differentiate between “transformation of energy” and the “displacement of a goal.”  For this reason, Kris introduced the term “neutralization” to “designate relevant energy transformation” so that the original meaning of “sublimation” could be retained. In the context of this terminology, cases from longitudinal studies provided data pertaining to children’s art and creative activity, their parents, and their environment. Based on an investigation of easel painting with nursery school children, Kris illustrated the relationship between “drive discharge” (neutralization) and “goal displacement” (sublimation).  In addition, the relationships between the role of identification with object relations as well as developmental deficits in institutionalized children are discussed.


Kris, E.  (1956).  Freud in the history of science. The Listener, 55, 631-633.

Kris cites two quotations by Freud from 1895 and 1925 to illustrate Freud’s interest in introspection in order to study internal conflict and its relationship to the study of human behavior.  The milieu of the 1890s sought to link the physiological and the mental and can be observed in the work of Hughlings Jackson inEngland, Pierre Janet inFrance, and Sigmund Freud inAustria.  Freud sought to bridge theory and “psycho-analytic observation” through periodic modification and reformulation of his findings. Despite this, Kris indicates that hardly any of Freud’s propositions have been revised by modern researchers. Significant was Freud’s concern with an individual’s psychosexual development as well as the role of the unconscious.  This led to Freud’s mapping of specific brain areas, which failed and resulted in a more general “structural organization” to which he assigned the terms, id, ego, and superego.  Finally, Freud’s self-analysis resulted from an error with a patient and permits us to witness the analytic process firsthand.  


Kris, E.  (1956).  On some vicissitudes of insight in psychoanalysis. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 37,  445-455.  (Contribution to the Symposium on ‘The theory of technique’ at the Centenary Scientific Meetings of the British Psycho-Analytical Society in London on 5 May, 1956.)

Kris notes that the analytic process is regulated by psychoanalytic technique.  Kris’ contemporaries writing on analytic technique reveal movement from an emphasis on intersystemic functions of the ego to an interest in its intrasystemic functions hitherto not examined extensively. In this respect, Kris refers to the temporary and partial regression of the ego as well as the ego’s ability to control “discharge of affects.”  Based on his discussion of the “good analytic hour,” Kris demonstrates the integrative functions of the ego; however, the experience of insight can result in either aggressive or libidinous feeling toward the analyst.   It is significant to note that true autonomy of ego functions and insight are acquired through “painful analytic work,” which involves “analysis of infantile prototypes.”


Kris, E.  (1956). The recovery of childhood memories in psychoanalysis. The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 11, 54-88.  (Paper presented to the Midwinter Meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association, New York, on December 4, 1955.)

Kris focuses on the recovery of childhood memories in the practice of psychoanalysis in the context of advances in ego psychology. Although the “model of hysteria” had lost its significance, and repression was no longer the sole defense mechanism, both tendencies continued to dominate psychoanalytic treatments.  In the discussion of several cases, Kris shows that the reconstructive process can act as a screen to obfuscate pertinent conflicts.  Despite the fact, that the “analytic process” allows the past to emerge into the present, and reveals the “need for reconstructive interpretation,” the communication is not always regulated by secondary processes; instead, primary process analogies can surface and actually impair an interpretation.  However, there does exist a relationship between present conflicts and recall, and when “instinctual forces and unconscious fantasies on current conflicts are analyzed,” childhood memories emerge without resistance.  Finally, Kris traces the importance of pre-oedipal development, which is rooted in Freud’s early work, more specifically in his seduction hypothesis.  Nevertheless, Kris replaces the sole view to discuss child development in terms of psychosexual maturation with an emphasis on object relations and the development of ego functions. 


Kris, E.  (1955).  To Helene Deutsch on her seventieth birthday. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 36,  209.

An appreciation.


Kris, E.  (1956).  The personal myth:  A problem in psychoanalytic technique.  Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4, 653-681.

Kris presents three case studies in which the client’s “biographical self-image” can act as a screen to obfuscate repressed memories. Each client exhibited a rich fantasy life until the onset of pathology, which re-directs their energy into highly specialized activities, thereby revealing their obsessional character.  If the autobiographical screen is not uncovered, then the client continues to live out his/her “personal myth,” and cannot assert his/her quest for autonomy with respect to the past.  The significance of the therapeutic technique is to identify and correct distortions of the client’s life history through the clarification and resolution of contradictions as revealed in the discovery of selective “memory gaps,” a.k.a. infantile amnesia. Three cases and a bibliography are included.

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