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Meisel, F. (1986). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVII, 1982: Flying. Some Psychoanalytic Observations and Considerations. Emanuel C. Wolff. Pp. 461-483.. Psychoanal Q., 55:371.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVII, 1982: Flying. Some Psychoanalytic Observations and Considerations. Emanuel C. Wolff. Pp. 461-483.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:371

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVII, 1982: Flying. Some Psychoanalytic Observations and Considerations. Emanuel C. Wolff. Pp. 461-483.

Frederick Meisel

Flying is connected to leaving the constraints of earthly reality and being free. A young man who was over-controlled by his mother was phobic of flying. This embodied the issues of trust, control, separation, and incestuous closeness. It became clear that entering the airplane was like entering the mother—a fusion with the phallic mother—orally and anally incorporated, and this would leave him castrated and abandoned. In another case illustration, a woman had conflicts over her oedipal wish for father, especially his penis, but had preoedipal fears of abandonment. She wished to be Peter Pan, and for her, flying was being on top, looking down. In a third case, flying was linked to going fast, to sexual liberty, but also to the sudden loss of the mother. There follows a discussion of Freud's thoughts on flying, the underlying homosexual and passive longings in the love of flying and anti-gravity games. Balint understood flying as connected to oceanic feelings and to the thrill of learning to walk. Finally, Wolff defines the feelings of gravity as the first ego boundary for the infant and relates it to identity, separation, individuation, and body reality; he suggests that flying is a return to pre-differentiated states.


WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.
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Article Citation

Meisel, F. (1986). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XXXVII, 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 55:371

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WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.