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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Saul, L.J. Snyder, T.R., Jr. Sheppard, E. (1956). On Earliest Memories. Psychoanal Q., 25:228-237.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:228-237

On Earliest Memories

Leon J. Saul, M.D., Thoburn R. Snyder, Jr., M.D. and Edith Sheppard, M.D.


'Earliest memories' are of the same nature and structure as dreams, being selected and distorted and perhaps even fabricated from hearsay by the same forces which shape the dream; and they are used, as are day residues in dreams, to serve the basic forces of the personality. Every detail of these memories is significant. Being less influenced by reactions to daily life than current dreams, they reveal the nuclear emotional constellation even more directly. As the balance of forces in the nucleus of the personality shifts and changes, because of life experience or analytic treatment, new memories may appear which fit better. Because of their power to reveal the basic dynamics, the first memories are important theoretically and practically. They are a guide to the childhood motivational patterns which remain prominent, and hence to the therapeutic problem, and to how these patterns will be handled and worked out in life and in the transference. They are indispensable to the psychoanalytic diagnostic interview.

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