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Kaplan, S. (1957). Panel Reports—The Latency Period. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 5:525-538.

(1957). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 5:525-538

Panel Reports—The Latency Period

Samuel Kaplan, M.D.

In his opening remarks, the chairman, Isidor Bernstein, noted that an earlier lag of interest among analysts in the latency period has given way to a current focusing on this period, reflected in the choice of this age group for this panel discussion. Historically, this coincides with the shift of emphasis from the study of the sexual conflict to the present intensive study of the ego and the fate of the aggressive drives. Since the sexual drives are somewhat in abeyance during latency, it is well-suited for the study of these problems. He suggested that this panel might consider what constitutes the so-called typical or ideal latency and what deviations would constitute atypical latency periods.

Margaret E. Fries presented a "Review of the Literature on the Latency Period." Although there are but few articles dealing exclusively with the latency period, references to the phenomena that occur during this period are indeed numerous. She traced the development of our knowldge about the latency period from the earliest reference to the concept of latency in a letter by Freud to Fliess in 1896. By 1905, Freud indicated that this period of relative quiescence of sexuality begins with the resolution of the oedipus complex, and extends from six years to puberty. By 1923, he added much data on the effect of preoedipal sexual development on the type of resolution of the oedipus complex and therefore on the structure of the latency period. Freud notes that the process involved in the resolution of the oedipus complex when carried out in the ideal way is far more than repression: it is a shattering of the oedipus complex, with amnesia in regard to infantile sexuality. With this repression, latency begins. Subsequent authors agree that after this repression the ego introjects the authority of the parental figures and this forms the kernel of the superego.

In more recent articles it is emphasized that repression alone is not sufficient to cope with the instinctual impulses, and the ego sets up a temporary regression to pregenitality.

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