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Melito, R. (1985). Reply to Steingart. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 33:977-981.

(1985). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 33:977-981

Reply to Steingart Related Papers

Richard Melito, Ph.D.

I am pleased to have this opportunity to engage in a dialogue around the ideas presented in my paper. I would also like to thank Dr. Steingart for criticisms which have pushed me to clarify further for myself and others the ideas presented. Steingart makes three major points, which in summary are: (1) In normal development, rapprochement resolution precedes intuitive thought (the issue of "comparative development"), (2) intuitive thought does not enable rapprochement resolution, and (3) a concrete type of self and object constancy exists in latency.

Concerning the first point, I want to stress that the intent of my paper was to reveal the conceptual compatibility and complementarity of Piaget's and Mahler's account of cognitive-emotional events during the period under discussion. That is, the definition of emotional object constancy fits with that of intuitive thought. Specifically, emotional object constancy involves the ability of the child to overcome disappointment and rage in the face of frustration by remembering the loving behavior of the mother (see, e.g., McDevitt, 1975p. 734). And, intuitions involve, for the first time, the ability to coordinate present experiences with "symbolic representations of past and present events" (Cowan, 1978p. 161). In the language of centration-decentration, the intuitive child is able to decenter a present experience and recenter on memories relevant to that experience. As Piaget (1946) states: "… decentration of one relation consists of remembering the existence of others by reconstructing or anticipating them" (p.

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