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Pine, F. (1981). In the Beginning: Contributions to a Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 8:15-33.

(1981). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 8:15-33

In the Beginning: Contributions to a Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology

Fred Pine


In this paper, I have suggested that affectively intense moments, set against more quiet backgrounds, lie at the heart of the early phases of development; such a view permits more differentiated descriptions of infancy and of the origins of development and psychopathology. The theoretical gain of a recognition of the momentary nature of these affectively intense experiences (be these orality, anality, symbiosis, or whatever) is to permit reconciliation of psychoanalytic observations and formulations with those of other research which reveal additional and contradictory aspects of infant function at other moments of the infant's day. Throughout, I have attempted to give an experience-near description of infant development, one not inconsistent with data from naturalistic and experimental research; I have also sought to make clear and to justify the bases for inferences regarding infant experience, whether they be drawn from external observation, comparisons to adult functioning, or psychopathology. The ideas advanced were applied to the normal autistic, the normal symbiotic, and the undifferentiated phase concepts, with a reappraisal of their nature.

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