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Britton, R. (1986). The Infant in the Adult. Psychoanal. Psychother., 2(1):31-44.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 2(1):31-44

The Infant in the Adult

Dr Ronald Britton

In this paper three cases are described in an attempt to illustrate different relationships to infantile phantasy which remains active in the adult as it does in the older child. In the first case, I see them as penetrating and informing daily experience in analysis and in relationships outside it. These infantile experiences reached adult life having been re-experienced in childhood and integrated into childhood memories, some of which become highlighted as carrying the infantile configuration and serve as what Freud called “screen memories”. In the second case, infantile phantasy, long segregated from daily life, erupted in the form of a psychotic breakdown and subsequently was contained within a psychotic transference until it was integrated—a process which took many years. In the third patient, many aspects of his infantile desires, fears and preoccupations were encapsulated in his perverse activities and his hypochondriasis erupting at times in neurotic symptoms.

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