psychical conflict

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

In psychoanalysis, the situation that exists when two contradictory tendencies oppose each other in a person's mind. Some such conflicts are conscious, as when a desire is opposed by a moral constraint, but it is unconscious conflicts that are assumed to generate neurotic (1) symptoms. In an article on ‘The Psycho-Analytic View of Psychogenic Disturbances of Vision’ (1910), Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) argued that conflicts between ideas are invariably traceable to conflicts between instincts: ‘We have discovered that every instinct tries to make itself effective by activating ideas that are in keeping with its aims. These instincts are not always compatible with one another; their interests often come into conflict. Opposition between ideas is only an expression of struggle between the various instincts’ (Standard Edition, XI, pp. 211–18, at p. 213.) Also called psychic conflict.

Subjects: Psychology.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.