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Innes-Smith, J. (1987). Pre-Oedipal Identification and the Cathexis of Autistic Objects in the Aetiology of Adult Psychopathology. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:405-413.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:405-413

Pre-Oedipal Identification and the Cathexis of Autistic Objects in the Aetiology of Adult Psychopathology

James Innes-Smith


There are more and more references in the literature to patients who are difficult to categorize and who arouse a particular counter-transference reaction of boredom or paralysis in the analyst. The verbal communication seems ineffective, the analysis tends to become prolonged and without real change in the patient. The hypothesis is made that these phenomena may arise from the persistence of certain types of object cathexis originating in the normal autistic phase of development, where bodily sensations predominate and verbal communication is not yet established. Tustin's work is quoted as particularly illuminating this phase of the infant's life, and a clinical example is given.

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