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Arundale, J. (1999). Editorial. Brit. J. Psychother., 15(4):409-411.

(1999). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 15(4):409-411


Jean Arundale

The concepts handed down from our psychoanalytic forefathers, so incredibly enriching to our understanding of the human mind, nevertheless need periodic review. The Journal co-sponsors a day conference with the Freud Museum on 31 October 1998, with the title ‘Analysing the Oedipus Complex: Why It Is Still Central’. More than 200 participants attended the Institut Français in London to hear presentations on current views of the Oedipus concept. We are delighted to be able to publish the papers in this issue. In a theoretical paper, Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel writes of the structuring power of the Oedipus complex, without which desire goes unchannelled with strange results: untamed sexuality, narcissism and omnipotence, or the ‘oceanic feeling’ outside of external reality that characterizes some modern spiritual movements. Further, she goes on to discuss the way that some intersubjective analytic groups in America lack firm oedipal structuring to their disadvantage. Then, in three clinical papers, we have detailed examples of current work with patients. In the first, Julia Fabricius links the Oedipus complex to separation-individuation, mourning, and the necessity in psychic development for there to be an acknowledgement of an object separate and independent from the self, capable of having a relationship with a third object. Her patient could not relinquish his infantile dependence, both fearing and wanting the consuming mother, and lacking an internal father.

[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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