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Litowitz, B.E. (1998). An Expanded Developmental Line for Negation: Rejection, Refusal, Denial. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(1):121-148.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(1):121-148

An Expanded Developmental Line for Negation: Rejection, Refusal, Denial

Bonnie E. Litowitz

Freud's 1925 paper on negation provides the foundation for exploring an expanded developmental line of negation. Incorporating evidence from child language studies and explanations from the philosophy of language, this paper describes three types of negation that emerge in a developmental sequence: rejection, refusal, and denial. Clinical examples illustrate each type of negation, demonstrating how it might appear in clinical interactions. Along the way, confusions in terminology (due partly to translation problems) and questions for developmental theory are discussed. An expanded developmental line of negation provides additional interpretive perspectives on the forms of defense that Freud was addressing in “Negation” (1925) and subsequent papers (1927, 1940a, b).

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