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Kris, A.O. (1987). Fixation and Regression in Relation to Convergent and Divergent Conflicts. Bul. Anna Freud Centre, 10(2):99-117.

(1987). Bulletin of the Anna Freud Centre, 10(2):99-117

Fixation and Regression in Relation to Convergent and Divergent Conflicts

Anton O. Kris

The choice of fixation and regression and their clinical implications as the joint topic for this first Anna Freud Commemorative Conference is particularly felicitous from my point of view, as it was Anna Freud's emphasis on ‘Regression as a Principle in Mental Development(1963), in conjunction with her concept of developmental lines, that first helped me towards an understanding of the divergent conflicts of adolescent patients, over 20 years ago. Today, with personal gratitude, I wish to bring that understanding to bear on the Conference topic.

In order to explain the usefulness of the distinction between divergent and convergent conflicts in understanding fixation and regression, it will be necessary to travel in the sometimes arcane realm of psychoanalytic theory and to walk again along some well worn paths. We will be paying special attention to certain interconnections that have previously been overlooked in mapping out the terrain. I hope you will find that the initial complication introduced by the distinction between divergent and convergent conflicts (and the inevitably taxing requirement of grasping an unfamiliar concept) will yield a better understanding of some aspects of the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and psychoanalytic technique.

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