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Ticho, E. Robbins, W.S. (1977). Varieties of Oedipal Distortions in Severe Character Pathologies. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 25:201-218.

(1977). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 25:201-218

Varieties of Oedipal Distortions in Severe Character Pathologies

Ernest Ticho, Ph.D. and William S. Robbins, M.D.

In his introductory remarks, Ernest Ticho observed that the Oedipus complex had been at the center of our psychology until the last decade when the increasing interest in pregenital developmental factors created the impression that the Oedipus complex had been displaced as the nuclear psychoanalytic developmental concept. The current emphasis on newer understandings and the interest it stimulates tend to exclude what was learned earlier; time is needed to arrive at a balanced view.

Ticho called attention to two papers written 45 years ago by Otto Fenichel: "The Pregenital Antecedents of the Oedipus Complex" (1941), and "The Specific Forms of the Oedipus Complex" (1931), which on rereading arouse a renewed respect for Fenichel's pioneering insights and also serve to remind us how far we have grown in conceptualizations and knowledge. Fenichel stated that the Oedipus complex is nuclear to the neuroses and to the unconscious of man generally, excepting from this only those extreme character malformations that resemble psychoses. He studied the preoedipal antecedents reflected in the oedipal organization and the libidinal development expressed in object relations. Fenichel pointed to the significance of environmental influences, but placed greater emphasis on biological and unconscious factors. He was fully aware of oedipal aspects in defense of preoedipal factors, which today we identify as premature oedipalization.

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