The American Journal of Psychoanalysis

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 8–16 | Cite as

Neurotic guilt and healthy moral judgment

  • Muriel Ivimey


The recognition and utilization of constructive moral judgment are two of the most important contributions to our present practice in therapeutic analysis. Freud seems only to have considered non-productive, irrational guilt feelings and not to have recognized the constructive potentialities of spontaneous, healthy moral judgment in human nature. His concept of constructive forces in the therapeutic process was limited to the patient's rational faculties and what was called positive transference in his relations with the analyst. We would say that irrational guilt feelings are the products of an overburdened conscience, that conscience is a natural and essential part of human nature. When relieved of the excessive demands of the idealized image, this “organ” of moral judgment operates as a sensitive gauge to indicate inwardly for each individual what is really good and what is really bad, what is right and what is wrong.


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© The Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis 1949

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  • Muriel Ivimey

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