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PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To start PEP-Easy without first opening your browser–just as you would start a mobile app, you can save a shortcut to your home screen.

First, in Chrome or Safari, depending on your platform, open PEP-Easy from pepeasy.pep-web.org. You want to be on the default start screen, so you have a clean workspace.

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On Android:

  1. Tap on the Chrome menu (Vertical Ellipses)
  2. Select “Add to Home Screen” from the menu

 

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Seligman, S. (1996). Commentaries. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:430-446.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:430-446

Commentaries

Stephen Seligman

Infant observation research is of special interest to analysts for several reasons. Studying babies offers the tantalizing possibility of clarifying what is basic in human nature, and different psychoanalytic theories propose images of the infant that emphasize those aspects of human psychology that each regards as most important. Freud viewed the infant as motivated by primitive, disorganized drives, with no sense of self or interpersonal boundaries, while Melanie Klein emphasized aggressive and libidinal fantasies. In contrast, contemporary relationally oriented analysts propose an image of an organized and adaptive human system, involved from birth in complex patterns of mutual regulation with caregivers. Each picture of the infant provides support for each orientation's metapsychological priorities with respect to such basic questions as motivation, the balance of continuities and discontinuities in development, the relationship of biological and psychological factors in development, and so forth.

In addition, developmental research challenges analysts to consider how related nonanalytic disciplines should be integrated with analytic theories and clinical orientations. Similar issues arise in considering the emerging findings from neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and, in a different way, feminism and contemporary philosophy and literary theory. Some have assumed that knowledge about infants can be easily transposed to analysis, while others have contended that data from outside the analytic situation are of limited value in testing or clarifying psychoanalytic propositions. Analysts of various persuasions have emphasized the privileged nature of knowledge gained in analytic treatments, argued that there is no reason to give special weight to findings about infancy, or shown skepticism that what is true of infants can be assumed to be true of adults.

Such objections notwithstanding, consensus is emerging that observational research about infancy has something to offer analysis. Many applications have drawn on infant researchers' attention to the infant-parent relationship as the key unit of interest in both developmental research and clinical intervention into early developmental difficulties.

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