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Garrett, M.D. (1986). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 55:210-211.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:210-211

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

Michael D. Garrett

DISCUSSION: Dr. Harold P. Blum praised Dr. McDougall's vivid clinical presentation and then focused his attention on present-day reassessments of earlier concepts about female sexuality. The concept of change of organ and change from active to passive assumes the female genital to be a divided genital involving the separate erotic and reproductive zones of clitoris and vagina; the current conceptualization of the female genital assumes it is a complex unity. The change of organ concept allowed for a bisexual paradigm, but it saw femininity as derived from a primary masculinity. The older concept of change of object actually described a developmental transformation from preoedipal to oedipal organization, and from dyadic to triadic object relations. Our explanatory framework is quite different today. Dr. Blum felt that Dr. McDougall's clinical presentation confirmed that her patient's narcissism was not a separate line of development, but was caught up in preoedipal and oedipal development. The patient, who appeared pursued by an overinvolved mother, was actually defending herself against her homosexual attachment to her mother. In addition to being a source of conflict, "latent homosexuality" has normal and adaptive aspects. Dr. Blum stated that "when bisexuality is normally organized so that the homosexual component is latent, subordinate, and sublimated, … it enriches the personality and the range and depth of our empathy." He took exception to Dr. McDougall's description of the early mother-child relationship as the mother "seducing" the child to live. While recognizing that Dr. McDougall did not literally mean seduction, Dr. Blum preferred Winnicott's concept of the "good enough" mother because it includes nurturance, empathy, and concern. He also questioned Dr. McDougall's reference to "identification" occurring in the first months of life; he would place it among later developmental events. Dr. Blum praised Dr. McDougall for her candid and illuminating examination of her countertransference. The analyst's countertransference here became a stimulus for self-analysis,

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