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Ivimey, M. (1950). Childhood Memories in Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 10(1):38-47.

(1950). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 10(1):38-47

Childhood Memories in Psychoanalysis

Muriel Ivimey

In the development of a new theory of neurosis, many factors observed in the light of the preexisting theory come to be understood differently. One such factor is the significance of childhood experiences. These are of crucial importance in neurosis, but what they signify is seen in radically different ways by Freud and Horney, and the analyst's attitude toward the patient's memories is influenced by the theory he uses.

In the chapter on childhood experiences in New Ways in Psychoanalysis, Dr. Horney concentrates mainly on Freud's contention that the distress, frustration and driving needs and conflicts felt by the neurotic individual in his daily life are direct repetitions of identical needs and conflicts experienced in childhood relationships with those who were closest to him. Hence, analysis of present, specific neurotic problems must focus on what is believed to be their specific sources in events experienced by the individuals twenty, twenty-five or thirty years before.

According to Horney's theory, the basic impairment in neurosis is not limited to one area—the individual's sex life—and characterological disturbances are not essentially derivatives of sexual disturbances. A child is not born with innate potentialities for the development of abnormal cravings and hostilities, or fears and jealousies. These make their appearance spontaneously in early childhood in relation to parents, and must be resolved either spontaneously or through analytic treatment later on.

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