Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Intrapsychic Process in Couples and Families

  • Dawn M. WirickEmail author
  • Lee A. Teufel-Prida
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_11-1

Name of Concept

Intrapsychic Process



The intrapsychic process refers to affect, cognition, and conation, as outlined by Freud in his early works (Arieti 1967). In his early writings, Freud assigns significant responsibility to affects as powerful and dynamic forces. According to him, when affects are not released and “prevented from discharge, psychopathological consequences result” (Arieti 1967, p. 8). The instincts or drives originate from tension within the human that have been pent up and necessitates release. Expressed in the form of a need, the inability to reduce the need, results in tension and restlessness.

An additional aspect of the intrapsychic process relates to cognition. Freud is credited with two fundamental contributions to the field of cognition. Primarily, “cognitive processes may be totally or partially unconscious” (Arieti 1967, p. 10). Secondly, he unveils evidence that in dream life, the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Molly Gasbarrini
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA