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Friend, M.R. (1967). The First Year of Life. A Psychoanalytic Study of Normal and Deviant Development of Object Relations: By René A. Spitz, M.D. in collaboration with W. Godfrey Cobliner. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1965. 394 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 36:281-283.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 36:281-283

The First Year of Life. A Psychoanalytic Study of Normal and Deviant Development of Object Relations: By René A. Spitz, M.D. in collaboration with W. Godfrey Cobliner. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1965. 394 pp.

Review by:
Maurice R. Friend

This most valuable volume belongs on the bookshelf of all who deal with human psychology, whether clinical or theoretical. It begins with a pithy preface by Anna Freud and concludes with a clear and readable comparative study by W. Godfrey Cobliner, Ph.D. of the Piaget school of psychoanalysis.

Spitz's contribution has been of immeasurable benefit to pediatrics, social work, and child psychiatry. His observations, such as the smile response or eight-months anxiety, are known everywhere. This volume epitomizes twenty years' work, and achieves more than any one of his original researches: it adds to our systematic psychoanalytic theory of that most difficult preverbal period of object relationships. It is a fine example of affective yet objective observation of this stage of life and beautifully coördinates aspects of Anna Freud's somewhat less precise description of the early stages of infantile life. To the clinical psychoanalyst dealing with regressed adults, it offers a helpful conceptualization of the varying object relationships and affects that can be found repressed in the infantile amnesias. It develops and expounds in a careful, systematic way Greencre's work on predisposition to anxiety.

Spitz describes in careful detail the developmental stages of object relationships: first, the objectless stage, then, the precursor stage, and finally, the establishment of the libidinal objects. He deals with the smiling response, eight-months anxiety, and the achievement of the sign of negation and the word 'no' as indicators of the formation of the first three organizers of the psyche.

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