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Bornstein, M. (1981). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(1):3-6.

(1981). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(1):3-6

Prologue

Melvin Bornstein, M.D.

All right. The problem is that there is no new problem. It must awaken from the sleep of being part of some other, old problem, and by that time its new problematical existence will have already begun, carrying it forward into situations with which it cannot cope, since no one recognizes it and does not even recognize itself yet, or know what it is.

— John Ashbery, “The Recital”

Regression is a familiar and established concept of psychoanalysis intrinsic to virtually all of its clinical and theoretical propositions. We might expect that an inquiry into the concept of regression would result only in a restatement of its historical development and its relationship to other psychoanalytic issues. Instead, we find that this familar concept, once highlighted, opens the way to a broader understanding of such clinical issues as the transference neurosis and regressive states, such theoretical issues as the psychology of the self and the analyst's value system, and to certain applied psychoanalytic considerations of creativity.

We have invited seven psychoanalysts with special interest in regression to contribute original articles. These articles approach regression from three main vantage points: (1) regression as a psychic process that contributes to psychopathology; (2) regression resulting in special modes of mental activity that characterize play and lead to creativity; (3) regression as it contributes to the psychoanalytic process for both analyst and analysand.

We have asked Nathaniel London to apply his sensitivity for subtle differences, as in the states of mind that exist in differing clinical situations, to explore the place of regression in psychoanalysis proper. In “The Play Element of Regression in the Psychoanalytic Process,” London uses the theory of play, the kind of regression it implies, and the formal characteristics it possesses to highlight a fascinating analogy to the characteristics of the transference neurosis.

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