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Sklar, J. (1989). Gender Identity - 50 Years on from Freud. Brit. J. Psychother., 5(3):370-380.

(1989). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(3):370-380

Gender Identity

Gender Identity - 50 Years on from Freud Related Papers

Jon Sklar

[The London Centre for Psychotherapy Annual Conference for 1988 took place on 12 March 1988. Its title was: Gender Identity - 50 years on from Freud. The following papers by Jon Sklar and Margot Waddell were given on that occasion, and each separately, and perhaps especially both in conjunction, created a very valuable learning experience for those who attended.]

I have puzzled long and hard at the title given to me for today's meeting ‘Gender Identity - 50 years on from Freud’. It is, of course, next year that we celebrate half a century since Freud's death. However, it was early in June 1938 that Freud arrived in England, around the corner from here in Ellsworthy Road, prior to settling even closer at 20 Maresfield Gardens on 16 September 1938.

Although it was an undoubted honour for London to receive him, there is something uncomfortable in celebrating the kicking out of the great man from his Viennese home for some 78 years in order that he could ‘die in freedom’.

Instead, I turned to Freud's writings of 1938. Here one sees not a waning of his creative powers, but a reworking and extension of his theories in the unfinished paper ‘Splitting of the ego in the process of defence’ dated 2 January 1938. In this paper Freud says:

Let us suppose that a child's ego is under the sway of a powerful instinctual demand, which it is accustomed to satisfy and it is suddenly frightened by an experience which teaches it that the continuation of the satisfaction will result in an almost intolerable real danger.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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