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Ritvo, S. (1966). Correlation of a Childhood and Adult Neurosis: Based on the Adult Analysis of a Reported Childhood Case. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:130-131.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:130-131

Correlation of a Childhood and Adult Neurosis: Based on the Adult Analysis of a Reported Childhood Case

Samuel Ritvo


The case report which was a focus for the discussion of obsessional neurosis at the Congress concerned the analysis of a patient who had been analysed as a child and about whose analysis a report was published.

The significance of the infantile and childhood neurosis for the adult neurosis was one of Freud's basic discoveries in his self-analysis and in the psycho-analysis of adult neurotics. In more recent years, with the advances in developmental psycho-analytic psychology stemming from the work of Anna Freud, Greenacre, Hartmann, Kris, Mahler, Waelder, Spitz and others, increasing interest and attention have focussed on the developmental significance of the infantile neurosis. Of the many important questions about the infantile neurosis raised by these authors, several are of immediate relevance to this presentation. Anna Freud (1964) has recently stressed our need to have a better knowledge and understanding of the shift from the phobic neurosis with its bodily forms of expression to the obsessional neurosis with its predominantly mental symptoms. Hartmann has emphasized that 'there is no yardstick for the pathogenic potential of infantile neurosis except for the long-run developmental consideration' (1954p. 212). He formulated a number of questions which developmental theory can pose for studying the developmental significance of the childhood neurosis. In discussing this significance he pointed out that we need to study the simple clinical question of the actual correlations between childhood neurosis and the form and intensity of adult neurosis.

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