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Psychoanalytic Thought on Phobia: Its Evolution and Its Relevance for Therapy
MARTIN WANGH
Am J Psychiatry 1967;123:1075-1080.
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Private practice and on the faculty of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute

1966-67, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The development of psychoanalytic thought on phobia is traced from Freud's demonstration of the unconscious pathways that select the phobic topos, through the distinctions of the various phase-conditioned sources of anxiety, to the present conception of a structural intraphychic disequilibrium which the phobic symptom seeks to balance. Analytic treatment uncovers the genetic sources of the imbalance and, by fostering a new equilibrium, increases the ego's capacity to cope with conflict.

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