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Frosch, J. (1967). Severe Regressive States During Analysis—Introduction. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 15:491-507.

(1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15:491-507

Severe Regressive States During Analysis—Introduction

John Frosch, M.D.

IT SEEMS ALMOST PARADOXICAL at this stage of psychoanalytic development to devote a panel to the examination of variants of a phenomenon which many analysts consider to be an intrinsic part of psychopathology as well as of the psychoanalytic process itself. This is not the place to go into the question whether such a concept has any validity in psychoanalytic thinking. I shall simply state that not everybody agrees that the concept of regression is a valid one, and some authors have even recommended that the whole concept be re-evaluated. However, I shall put such considerations aside and propose an operational frame of reference within which to view the phenomena that constitute the subject of this panel.

I would suggest that we use the term "regression" to indicate the re-emergence of phenomena which are phase-related or consistent with earlier ego states, ego functions, and modes of mastery, as well as with earlier goals and modes of libidinal gratification and experiences. Generally, one speaks of two types of regression, one representing return to an early failure situation and the other to an early success situation (50); or, to word it somewhat differently, regression to a traumatic experience or to a pretraumatic satisfactory situation (1).

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