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Gaddini, R. (1998). Pre-Object Relatedness: Early Attachment and the Psychoanalytic Situation. By Ivri Kumin. New York: Guilford Press, 1997, 240 pp., 35.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 46(1):306-316.

(1998). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 46(1):306-316

Pre-Object Relatedness: Early Attachment and the Psychoanalytic Situation. By Ivri Kumin. New York: Guilford Press, 1997, 240 pp., 35.00.

Review by:
Renata Gaddini

This book comprises thirteen papers, arranged in three parts: I. The Basic Language of Primary Relatedness; II. Intermodal Exchange; III. Pathology of Pre-Object Relatedness. It has an introduction by the author, and an acknowledgment to Clare Winnicott, who, by sending Kumin a copy of her paper “Fear of Breakdown” (1980), in a way inspired the book. In his introduction the author indicates those who “have tried to understand the nature of the emotional experience in infancy,” emphasizing that “this book highlights their similarities, what Wallerstein (1990) called the ‘common ground’ of psychoanalysis which somehow has been undervalued.” Kumin admits that “pre-object relatedness is, in a sense, a generic term,” and specifies a number of “developmentally primitive experiential configurations that are types of pre-object experience,” grouping part-objects, self-objects, and bizarre objects together with the transitional object. However, this is something I'm afraid D. W. Winnicott would not agree with, since for him the transitional object is the first created object (not-me); it cannot be lumped together with part-objects and bizarre objects.

Except for this point I am in agreement with the author. But the transitional object has its own external reality, functions as a bridge between mother and infant, and, enriched with the baby's inner reality, becomes the first symbol created to represent reunion with the mother.

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