The concept of energy in psychoanalytic theory

Inquiry 14 (1-4):138-147 (1971)
Abstract
Freud's early attempts to account for repression and for the occurrence of neurotic symptoms in terms of detachable and displaceable quantities of affect?charge (cathexis) has continued to be a basic aspect of psychoanalytic theory. This is unfortunate since the account is inadequate and its central concept, that of a quantity of energy, is unsuited to the task at hand. We see that, despite the appropriateness of describing neurotic behavior in dynamic/economic terms, the use of energy concepts on the theoretical level is an explanatory dead?end
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