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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Loss Complex: A Contribution to the Etiology of Depression. Gregory Rochlin. Pp. 299-316.. Psychoanal Q., 29:593.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Loss Complex: A Contribution to the Etiology of Depression. Gregory Rochlin. Pp. 299-316.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:593

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959: The Loss Complex: A Contribution to the Etiology of Depression. Gregory Rochlin. Pp. 299-316.

Clinical depression as it is described in classic psychoanalytic literature is a superego phenomenon which, like mania, does not occur in childhood. Object loss, so important a precipitant of adult depression, produces crucial effects in childhood but does not lead to the kind of depressive state characterized by a cleavage between the criticizing faculty of the ego and the ego as altered by identification. Object loss produces in a young child crucial disturbances in his processes of identification. He exists exclusively in relation to an object, mainly through identification with the object. If this process is disrupted by loss, the child employs various substitutive identifications. Clinically he will manifest increased narcissism, rapid cathexis of secondary and often inanimate objects, enhanced animism, arrest of executive function, and surrender of acquired ego achievements through regression. The result is not depression, but rather behavior distortions often marked by overt aggression and pregenital drive enactment. Object loss in early childhood distorts ego development, and in somewhat later youth impairs superego development. Both are a consequence of the disturbance in the identification process.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:593

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