In Ego Psychology II, Gertrude and Rubin Blanck elaborate upon ego psychological theory, extending and broadening it into a psychoanalytic developmental psychology. They present the unifying proposal, derived from Freud's concept of an overall ego (the Gesamt Ich), that the ego is the organizing process itself. Out of this basic proposition, a holistic conception of psychological development evolves.
Within the developmental framework established in Ego Psychology II symptom constellation is shown to be unreliable as a guide to diagnosis. A diagram of development is presented to convey that overall development rather than symptomatology provides guidelines for secure diagnosis and suggests how treatment is to be carried out. Treatment, in the form of ego-building techniques, evolves from recognition that developmental inadequacies cause pathological formations that become malformations in the structure.
Ego Psychology II is valuable for psychotherapists, psychologists, psychoanalysts and social workers: the authors' extensive case-study material illustrates the theroy and technique of developmental psychology in vivid form. The authors show also how psychoanalytic developmental psychology updates drive theory, sheds new light on transference, redefines resistance and defense in the poorly structured personalities, clarifies the pathology of the borderline conditions of narcissism, and suggests reconsideration of the manner in which many neurotic formations are attained.
Only a reading of the illustrative examples here furnished of exchanges between therapists and patients can possibly convey the accuracy, sensitivity, and finesse which might at present be designated, for want of a better term, the process of 'ego building' as employed by the authors.
Nathaniel Ross, M.D.