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Knafo, D. Feiner, K. (1996). The Primal Scene: Variations On A Theme. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:549-569.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:549-569

The Primal Scene: Variations On A Theme

Danielle Knafo and Kenneth Feiner

The purpose of this paper is to clarify and enrich the concept of the primal scene. A critical review of the literature highlights the major questions and controversies that have arisen in relation to the concept. The authors propose that multiple and shifting identificatory positions can be discerned in primal scene configurations. Primal scene experiences and fantasies are viewed as a blueprint for internalized object relationships. Both traumatic and adaptive consequences of primal scene fantasies and exposure are noted. A case illustration exemplifies primal scene trauma resulting from chronic exposure and illustrates the analysand's internalized multiple and shifting identifications which became embedded in the transference relationship.

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