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Caldwell, L. (2009). On: The Concept of Therapeutic Regression: In Response to Laurence Spurling. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(2):375-377.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(2):375-377

Letters to the Editors

On: The Concept of Therapeutic Regression: In Response to Laurence Spurling Related Papers

Lesley Caldwell

Dear Editors,

As someone who has puzzled over the concept of therapeutic regression and its relevance, both, on occasion, in my own clinical practice and in trying to clarify it for students, I am grateful for Laurence Spurling's (2008) thorough review of the more general concept, and of the changing climates in which regression in general, and ‘therapeutic regression’ and the allied ‘regression to dependence’ in particular, are now approached and discussed. This changing reception — and an unease, amounting, in some cases, to the term's downright dismissal — emerges very strongly and is of considerable interest in itself. Indeed, the charting of the trajectory of any concept's use, and the frequency of its citation over an extended period, would be a valuable research exercise in the history of the reporting of contemporary clinical psychoanalysis.

As testimony to its continuing interest, the topic appears again in the following issue of the IJP in a review of Le Primitif. Que devient la régression? (Éoche-Duval, 2008, p. 903), a publication designed to make French psychoanalytic thought more widely known. This volume is organized around a paper by Fédida (who died in 2002) whose concern to link regression and the primitive emphasizes the dream as a paradigm of language in psychoanalysis, “a memory of the infantile stratum of the mind”. He aims to separate out regression from simple forms of evolutionism and “to use transferential regression to rediscover a path to the primitive mind” (p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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