Analysis of the superego

Following is a synopsis, accompanied by comments and personal contentions, of the main contributions and events that have marked the history of the concept of the Superego in the psychoanalytic movement. The author focuses above all on the theoretical and clinical aspects and on the theories concerning the cure, with special stress on the Freudian hypotheses related to the Superego, as well as taking into account those of M. Klein. He emphasizes the validity and importance of the conceptual constellation in clinical psychoanalysis, which Freud described in the course of various papers in the 1920s: sadism in the Superego–masochism in the Ego, together with the description of the unconscious feeling of guilt and the need for punishment («those who fail when they succeed», «the negative therapeutic reaction»), pointing out the significant thematic coincidences with Dostoyevsky and Kakfa’s literary works. Finally he revises Freudian and post-Freudian therapeutic proposals concerning the pathology of the Superego.

Keywords:
superego, moral conscience, ego ideal, unconscious feeling of guilt, need for punishment

Eduardo Braier
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