This paper attempts to trace the main ideas developed by Hartman, Kris and Loewenstein in the early 50s and to show how they first contributed to structuralize what had been a rather chaotic therapeutic enterprise. In a second part the problems associated with looking at treatment as a rather one person process led to the development of other points of view, particularly in England and France. These new developments focused on the greater role of early object relations with the contributions of the Kleinians and of Winnicott and the greater understanding of the pre-oedipal phase of development. This de-emphasized the overreaching importance of the oedipal phase. In a third section I briefly examine how practice of so called ego psychology has silently evolved, without however reflecting the new techniques in a changing or evolutionary theory. The disconnect between theory and technique and its consequences are examined.
Keywords: Ego psychology, object relations, preoedipal phase, neutralization, psychic energy, cathexes