Dissecting the Superego: Moralities Under the Psychoanalytic Microscope, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Dissecting the Superego

Moralities Under the Psychoanalytic Microscope, 1st Edition

Edited by Celia Harding


216 pages

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Dissecting the Superego: Moralities Under the Psychoanalytic Microscope offers a comprehensive overview of how the superego, the workings of our moral faculties, may be understood and clinically utilised in contemporary practice.

Drawing on the latest psychoanalytic thinking – as well as neurobiological, psychological and ethical perspectives- this book reinstates the superego as a central concept, and gives a clear guide to its importance in the modern world. In addition to the theoretical background of this construct, the contributors provide a clear guide to the importance of the superego in a range of pathological and everyday scenarios, and particularly in clinical settings.

With an emphasis on the wider social and cultural context, Dissecting the Superego: Moralities Under the Psychoanalytic Microscope will be ofinterest to trainee and qualified psychotherapists, social workers, youth offender and probation workers and ethicists.


"Dissecting the Superego is an exciting addition to the current literature on the superego. Freud first used the term ‘Uber Ich’ in 1923. This splended collection of articles illustrates how the idea of ’over the ego’ is alive and well in modern psychoanalytic thinking and in practice with child and adult patients. It also shows for example, how the concept is relevant to psychoanalytic training and the problems of training analysis. Altogether it is an excellent and rewarding read."-Bernard Barnett, author of You Ought To (2007)

Table of Contents


Introduction: The superego in 21st century psychoanalysis Celia Harding

Part I: Theoretical and Developmental Considerations

1. The good, the bad and the superego. From punishment to reparation R.D. Hinshelwood

2. A new theory of conscience: the petrified ego Elizabeth Reddish

3. Reflections on the ego ideal in childhood Ann Horne

4. The neurobiological bases of human moralities: civilization’s misguided moral development Darcia Narvaez

Part II: The Role of the Superego in Different States of Mind

5.Sorry won’t make a dead man alive’: the superego behind depressive states of mind Celia Harding

6. Superegos in patients with problems of perversion Heather Wood

7.About the analyst and patient: the superego in borderline states of mind Jack Nathan

8. The role of the superego in psychopathic states of mind and personality Celia Taylor

9. Fundamentalism and the superego Lesley Murdin

Part III: The Superego in Clinical Contexts

10. The superego as a significant factor in clinical training Christine Driver

11. The analytic superego Warren Colman

12. The superego’s role in the ethical attitude: hindrance and help Celia Harding

About the Editor

Celia Harding has worked as a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist in private practice in East London, UK for over thirty years and is a Founder member of the Association for Psychotherapy in East London.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health