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Gedo, J.E. (1982). On Black Bile and Other Humours. Psychoanal. Inq., 2(2):181-191.

(1982). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 2(2):181-191

On Black Bile and Other Humours Related Papers

John E. Gedo, M.D.

Henri parens' the development of aggression in early childhood is but one of the numerous publications and films stemming from the Early Childhood Development Project of the Children's Unit of the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Parens is acutely aware of the objections of certain respected theoreticians, of such varied persuasions as Charles Brenner and Heinz Kohut, to the use of data from the direct observation of young children in formulating psychoanalytic theories. Obviously, he adheres to the opposite school of thought, that of Ernst Kris, Anna Freud, and (most directly) Margaret Mahler—researchers committed to longitudinal observational studies, more or less in the tradition of experiments of nature, in the service of supplementing reconstructive data from the psychoanalysis of children and adults.

With regard to this methodological controversy, Parens' book provides testimony of an equivocal nature. On the one hand, the wealth of well-documented phenomenology he has brought into the public domain probably suffices in itself to justify his research. But, on the other hand, the formidable problem of translating the manifest behaviors of nonverbal children into a psychology of motivations continues to throw doubt on Parens' efforts to buttress and/or to amend aspects of psychoanalytic theory.

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