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Bing, J.F. (1986). The Annual of Psychoanalysis. XI, 1983: Shoplifting: An Expression of Revenge and Restitution. Anna Ornstein; Cheryl Gropper; Janice Z. Bogner. Pp. 311-331.. Psychoanal Q., 55:365-366.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Annual of Psychoanalysis. XI, 1983: Shoplifting: An Expression of Revenge and Restitution. Anna Ornstein; Cheryl Gropper; Janice Z. Bogner. Pp. 311-331.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:365-366

The Annual of Psychoanalysis. XI, 1983: Shoplifting: An Expression of Revenge and Restitution. Anna Ornstein; Cheryl Gropper; Janice Z. Bogner. Pp. 311-331.

James F. Bing

The authors summarize Alexander's theories on shoplifting. They raise the question of what factors determine the formation of a cruel superego, which in some cases leads to delinquency and in others to neurosis. One of the goals in treating shoplifters is to understand the compulsiveness of the act, so alien to the individual's ego. For one patient, the shoplifting was related to pent-up tension that resulted from the poor relationship with his wife. In a second example, the patient's shoplifting was successfully resolved after only ten sessions by connecting the first offence to a reactivated childhood wish, thus relieving the patient's guilt. The therapist helped the patient to see that this was rage against the mother who never gave any recognition to the patient as a child. In the third example, the shoplifting was interpreted as a defense against loss of love and loneliness. Another, the wife of a well-to-do surgeon, recreated a childish thrill: her need for adoration and excitement, which she could not get when the local theater group had no parts for her, led to scheming and planning for shoplifting. When the therapist helped her to see that she did not need to create some kind of "high" in order to feel alive and good about herself, the problem was resolved. By keeping the purpose the shoplifting


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serves uppermost in mind, the therapist can be nonjudgmental. Treatment is more successful when the present can be related to childhood activity. Revenge or rage for being made to feel unloved constitutes the motivation in many cases. Thus shoplifting is often based on a narcissistic injury and is an attempt to establish a feeling of self.


WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the PEPWeb subscriber and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form.
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Article Citation

Bing, J.F. (1986). The Annual of Psychoanalysis. XI, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:365-366

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.