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Segal, H. (1982). Early Infantile Development as Reflected in the Psychoanalytical Process: Steps in Integration. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:15-22.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:15-22

Early Infantile Development as Reflected in the Psychoanalytical Process: Steps in Integration

Hanna Segal

I have given a sub-title to my paper because I found I couldn't tackle the subject indicated in the main title in its entirety. To present one's ideas about infant and child development and the manifold ways it is reflected in the psychoanalytical process is truly a theme for a book rather than for a paper. I say in manifold ways because the psychoanalytical process does not repeat in any simple linear way infant and child development. Patients come to us with their internal world structured in a particular way. As the transference develops they project their internal objects and parts of themselves on to us in a way which reveals the object relationships, anxieties and defences underlying the structure of their personality; the situation becomes dynamic again, and we discover the early infantile conflicts and object relationships which led to the creation of those particular structures. Transference is not a simple repetition of childhood. When certain internal figures and parts of the selves are projected on to the analyst, the psychoanalytical process modifies the nature of internal figures and relationships. Thus, in analysis we are dealing not only with the historical past but also, dynamically, mostly with an ahistorical past which keeps changing and altering in the psychoanalytical process. Such historical past as is relived, at times in a very feeling way, is relived of course not in a chronological order, but in terms of evolving internal dynamics of the transference relationship.

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