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Mayman, M. (1982). Epilogue. Psychoanal. Inq., 1(4):738.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 1(4):738


Martin Mayman, Ph.D.

The purpose of this issue has been to suggest to the reader that psychoanalysis, as it incorporates research like that dealt with in this set of papers, is on the threshold of a major renewal of its concepts and propositions.

Basch reminds us that Freud's concepts of child development are largely conjectures based on his discoveries about adult psychopathology rather than on direct observations of normal children in the course of their development. Ingenious as they were, these conjectures—and those of the psychoanalysts who followed him—were really a set of creative inferences and hypotheses logically consistent with what was known about adult psychopathology, but not yet rooted in systematically collected observations of infants and children. In the years that followed, psychoanalysis encouraged the gradually accelerating accumulation of data, and of ever more solidly grounded hypotheses about infant and child development.

Today, this area of investigation has become the most rapidly growing edge of psychoanalytic research, a flourishing frontier whose bumper crop of novel bits and pieces of new information about development both fills in what Freud laid down for us only in its barest outlines and challenges researchers to recast their notions of developmental psychology. David Rapaport's ambitious attempt to formulate the developmental psychology inherent in psychoanalysis is already dated. There is a pressing need today for a new formulation of his developmental model, one that rests securely on the foundation being laid by investigators like those who have contributed to this issue, and whose work collectively takes us closer to a more palpable understanding of the dawn of awareness.

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