Ego Psychology The Wisdom of the Ego.
AbstractEGOPSYCHOLOGY THE WIsDoar OF THE Em.By George E. Vuilfunt.Cambridge, h&k Hanard Univ. Press, 1993, 394 pp., $27.95. This remarkable book, a significant contribution to ego psychology and a testament to the value of longitudinalstudy, presents a broad outlook on the ego and a view of a collaborative research project, The Study of Adult Development, that has been ongoing now for fifty years. For two decades George Vaillant has directed this study, in which large numbers of people are followed from adolescence throughout their adult lives, allowing the documentation of their struggles to love, to find meaning and order, and to create. From this extensive data base Vaillant develops three interrelated themes: (1) defenses are coping and adaptive mechanisms as important to well-being as are immune mechanisms and the autonomic nexvous system; (2) creativity is part of the alchemy of the ego, bringing order and meaning out of chaos and distress; (3) ego development continues to unfold throughout adulthood. Closely examined life stones reveal illusion and self-deception,a kind of intellectual dishonesty and trickery, as healthy and creative devices seIving maturation. To be sure, defense mechanisms have not always been viewed in such a positive light. Freud saw them as