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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Toward the Biology of the Depressive Constellation. Therese F. Benedek. Pp. 389-427.. Psychoanal Q., 29:135-136.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Toward the Biology of the Depressive Constellation. Therese F. Benedek. Pp. 389-427.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:135-136

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956: Toward the Biology of the Depressive Constellation. Therese F. Benedek. Pp. 389-427.

This paper seeks to establish the existence of a universal 'depressive constellation'. This is based on a psychobiological interaction around alimentation. With the establishment of some degree of 'I' and 'not I' (itself based on perceiving need within the self and gratification from without), gratification leads to the equation good mother equals good child. When frustration occurs there is regression, loss of the ego and of the self, depletion of libido, and occurrence of diffuse aggression. With re-establishment of the ego, aggression is projected onto the mother, she becomes 'bad' mother, and with return of the libidinal cathexis the aggression is introjected and becomes 'bad' mother equals 'bad' self. This is the depressive core. This relationship between mother and child is a symbiotic one since the mother experiences a regression to her own receptive alimentary level with the various phases of procreation. Generally the mother transforms this into motherliness, but needs to receive unconsciously from the child,—she needs to receive assurance that this is a 'good' happy child and thus that she is a 'good' mother. If not, the mother's aggression comes to the fore and the child is identified as herself: as a 'bad' child and as her 'bad' mother. This intensifies the depressive constellation in the child. This depressive constellation

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has a broader meaning than simply 'leading to depression'. It is also important in other aspects of formation of personality.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IV, 1956. Psychoanal. Q., 29:135-136

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