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Shanzer, H. (1967). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 36:147.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:147

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Hilda Shanzer

DISCUSSION: Dr. David Beres questioned the author's assumption that 'an intolerance of direct passive experiences with the need-satisfying object' had led Margaret to avoid discomfort by her own activity and that this had become a model for her later object relationships. Further, the implication that the trauma of this mother-child relationship resulted in perceptual, central nervous system sensitivities requires more evidence to support it. He wondered if an isolated shock experience ever produces lasting effects on later symptom or character development unless there is some pre-existing earlier stress trauma with unconscious fantasies.

Dr. Kenneth Calder discussed two prevalent views of trauma: one in which favorable results can be expected, the other doubting the modifiability of trauma. He feels the meaning of trauma and the capacity of the ego to handle trauma is strongly influenced by a person's conflicts at the time of the trauma.

Dr. Phyllis Greenacre stressed the neonatal qualities of the infant, which she feels could hardly be the result of the mother's ineptness and restrained aggression in holding the child, but might be due to the prolonged labor terminating in uterine inertia and forceps delivery, as well as the disturbed conditions of the later months of pregnancy. In her clinical experience, Dr. Greenacre has found the fourth year of life a particularly vulnerable time for traumatic incidents. In the case of Margaret, Dr. Greenacre felt the father's role in her Oedipal development was not sufficiently documented; there is a possibility of certain rivalry between the child's Oedipal attachment to the therapist and to the father. Further, it seemed that the trauma may have been provoked by the child as a result of the Oedipal rivalry going on between mother and child; traumas are frequently coöperative affairs.

Dr. Elisabeth Geleerd felt the presentation especially fruitful as the child was in analysis at the period of an important developmental phase, i.e., the Oedipus complex, and one could thus observe the vicissitudes of drive and ego development. She did not consider the trauma to be an outside factor but rather an exaggeration of a particular form of interpersonal relationship which had always existed. Trauma can be organically interwoven with the defensive and adaptive forces of the personality.

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