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Gray, S.H. (1989). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: Structure and Defense in the Therapy of Little Hans. Beth L. Fineberg. Pp. 440-446.. Psychoanal Q., 58:173.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: Structure and Defense in the Therapy of Little Hans. Beth L. Fineberg. Pp. 440-446.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:173

Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986: Structure and Defense in the Therapy of Little Hans. Beth L. Fineberg. Pp. 440-446.

Sheila Hafter Gray

The author believes that Little Hans's phobia arose from preoedipal separation-individuation conflicts and sexual identity problems. She suggests that the mother's excessive closeness to the child and her threats to have his penis amputated if he continued to masturbate may best be read as examples of her incapacity to permit him to grow away from her. The phobic symptom arose, therefore, as a way of containing the child's separation anxiety rather than his castration anxiety. When Little Han's father treated the phobia, he afforded the child an opportunity to form a strong father-son bond. This facilitated both his outgrowing his exclusive dependence on his mother and his developing a phase-appropriate masculine identity. The treatment thus permitted him to enter into a normal oedipal phase. He was then able to resolve the conflicts of that phase spontaneously. His father's interpretive interventions are thus incidental to, and not the cause of, his taking this next developmental step.

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Article Citation

Gray, S.H. (1989). Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. L, 1986. Psychoanal. Q., 58:173

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