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Guntrip, H.J. (1970). Correspondence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 51:565.

(1970). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 51:565


Harry J.S. Guntrip


In his paper on 'The Origin and Fate of New Ideas in Psychoanalysis' (Int. J. Psycho-Anal.50, 503–515) Greenson makes the extraordinary statement that 'Fairbairn and Guntrip see sexuality essentially as a defence'. As Fairbairn is not here to reply for himself, I cannot let this pass unchallenged. It is totally erroneous. Of course, sexuality per se is a natural function which operates normally in an emotionally mature and healthy person. Fairbairn's own words are: 'an adult is not mature because genital, but genital because mature', indicating clearly that he held normal genital functioning to be an integral part of a mature personality. Of course, sexuality, like every other function, can be, and not seldom is, used as a defence against anxiety and insecurity. It is then the business of psychoanalytic therapy to rescue sexuality from being so misused. But because a 'schizoid intellectual' uses intellectuality as a defence against his isolation, we would not say that anyone who recognized that regarded intellectuality 'essentially as a defence'.


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