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Wellin, J.A. (1988). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 57:477.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 57:477

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York

Julia A. Wellin

DISCUSSION: Dr. Marianne Goldberger agreed that it was unfortunate that Hans was deprived of the knowledge of the father's role in making babies. A residual of Hans's lack of knowledge of the father's role was reflected in his persistent asking of repetitive questions, even after his symptoms had subsided. However, Dr. Goldberger did not think that the evidence warranted the conclusion that Hans resorted to a negative oedipal position. Although Hans's ambisexuality was strong, this does not mean his identification with his father was weak. Rather, he had strong identifications with both parents. This phenomenon is more widely recognized in girls, but it is seen in boys as well. Dr. Goldberger felt that Hans had not yet relinquished the wish to have it both ways and had not yet conquered the narcissistic injury of being consigned to a single differentiated structure that forever excludes certain capacities. Still, yearning at the age of five to have a baby does not necessarily mean the boy has made a negative oedipal solution. On the contrary, Little Hans had a strong sense of his own gender, and there is much evidence of a stable father identification. In fact, we have some evidence that Hans sought to become a better father than his own. At a moment when he was frustrated by his father's lack of explanations, he said that he would take his child to the park and "explain everything to her." Dr. Goldberger noted that the father's reluctance to reveal the role of the man in making babies is not just some archaic Victorian prudery.

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