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Lebovici, S. (1962). The Theory of the Parent-infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:246-247.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:246-247

The Theory of the Parent-infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion

Serge Lebovici


Since we have had the pleasure of reading Dr Greenacre's and Dr Winnicott's papers before the start of the Congress we are able to make a shorter and more precise contribution to the discussion than we would otherwise have been able to do. I shall confine myself to making a few remarks about Winnicott's paper.

Although certain questions that I intended to put to Winnicott have already been touched upon by Miss Freud, I think it might be useful to discuss them again more thoroughly. From one Congress to the next we have been present at the exposition of certain modifications of psycho-analytical conceptions concerning the development of the early mother-child relationship. For a long time infant development was understood by way of reconstructions made during the treatment of neuroses in adults. The most recent contributions, however, have come from direct observation of children by psycho-analysts. Freud himself had not neglected this approach, to which he made a clear allusion in his Three Essays on Sexuality.

Today Winnicott presents to us a new standpoint, and I should like to raise a few questions about its significance. I shall define it as one which 'insight' enables us to make. It seems to me that it is this approach which is responsible for the relative contradiction that is appearing between the generally accepted concepts of early object-relations and those presented to us by Winnicott.

We certainly used to accept that the early object-relationship was one of dependence, what Miss Freud called an 'anaclitic' relationship.

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