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Pollock, G.H. (1964). On Symbiosis and Symbiotic Neurosis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:1-30.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:1-30

On Symbiosis and Symbiotic Neurosis

George H. Pollock

Recent studies of simultaneous analyses of children and parents (Burlingham, 1935); (Hellman, Friedman and Shepheard, 1960); (Levy, 1960); (Burlingham, Goldberger and Lussier, 1955), of intrafamilial determinants of divergent sexual behaviour of twins (Mesnikoff et al., 1963), of marital situations (Stein, 1956), of non-twin siblings (Pollock, unpublished), and the Hampstead early and late analyses of the same individual present data and correlated observations which may assist us in our further investigations of object relationships along developmental lines.

In this paper I intend to review the concept of symbiosis as it is connected with object relationships, the psycho-analytic considerations of this idea, to illustrate with clinical material an example of a persistent symbiotic neurosis and its treatment, and finally to discuss the developmental hierarchy of symbiotic relationships.

General Considerations of the Concept of Symbiosis

There seemingly is a certain set of optimum conditions for maximum growth and development for each species. These adaptational requirements presumably came into being through the process of natural selection and evolution. For each individual member of a species the gradual developmental changes do not occur at random, but in a series of orderly sequential stages which can be predicted with some accuracy. However, development must be thought of in terms of continua and not as rigid non-overlapping phases.

Most animal young are capable of a fairly independent existence not too long after birth or hatching.

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