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Serota, H.M. (1964). Comment on Dr M. Sperling's and Dr Stoller's Papers. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 45:234-236.

(1964). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45:234-236

Comment on Dr M. Sperling's and Dr Stoller's Papers

Herman M. Serota

The extensive clinical material offered by Sperling in almost pristine associations makes it strongly tempting for the discussant to produce supplemental associations. It also suggests a variety of uses and applications of the material to our body of psycho-analytic theory. Such obvious notions as an illustration of the bisexual meaning of a living 'pet', the oral imprint upon the genitality of later development, the anality which is imposed on the materialized fantasy of a living fetish object (which is simultaneously penis or vagina, vagina or lower alimentary tract, vagina or upper (mouth) alimentary tract, male or female progenitor of anal babies, etc.) are all pertinent to a discussion of the clinical conference type. These have already been rapidly considered in this fantasy-rich presentation.

It is also strongly tempting to discuss the clinical data in terms of the prolonged therapeutic contact of over twenty years with a maturing and developing patient who goes from the immediate pre-oedipal period into young adulthood under the watchful eyes of one psychotherapist. To have done this would require a rapid view of Sperling's first paper about this self-same patient whom she first encountered as a seriously sick child with ulcerative colitis in a hospital ward shortly after his traumatic attempt to start kindergarten. However, present limitations suggest a different although not exclusive focus.

In a panel discussion on the Psychological Consequences of Physical Illness in Childhood in 1958, of the American Psychoanalytic Association, it was stated: 'A child who has met a disrupting event may attempt the mastery of the trauma by dealing with it in fantasy, talking about it, or translating the injury he has suffered into action.

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