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Schore, A.N. (1991). Early Superego Development: The Emergence of Shame and Narcissistic Affect Regulation in the Practicing Period. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 14(2):187-250.

(1991). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 14(2):187-250

Early Superego Development: The Emergence of Shame and Narcissistic Affect Regulation in the Practicing Period

Allan N. Schore, Ph.D.

This paper on developmental superego psychology traces the emergence and functional onset of shame, an inhibitor of hyper-aroused states, in the early separationindividuation phase, specifically from practicing through the beginning of rapprochement (12 to 18 months). A prototypical model of shame is proposed in which the emerging self, in a hyper stimulated, grandiose, narcissistically charged state of heightened arousal, exhibits itself during a reunion with the caregiver. Despite an excited anticipation of a shared affect state with the mother the infant unexpectedly experiences a misattunement, thereby triggering a sudden shock-induced

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Dr. Schore is engaged in the private practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

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deflation of narcissistic affect. The intense physiological state of shame distress is proposed to reflect a sudden shift from sympathetic dominant to parasympathetic dominant autonomic nervous system activity. The infant is thus propelled into a hypoaroused affect state which he cannot yet autoregulate, and the caregiver's response is critical to affect regulation and to the ultimate evolution of a structural mechanism to recover from shame. The importance of internalized shame affect regulation to the resolution of the rapprochement crisis and to the genesis of the ego ideal, as well as theoretical considerations regarding the etiology of narcissistic pathologies and the function of the superego in mood regulation are also discussed.

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