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Molofsky, M. (2002). Aloneness With Aesthetic Pleasure: A Developmental Step Reflected In Memory And Dream. Psychoanal. Rev., 89(2):217-238.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Review, 89(2):217-238

Aloneness With Aesthetic Pleasure: A Developmental Step Reflected In Memory And Dream

Merle Molofsky, MFA, NCPSYA

On occasion, adult patients report a dream in which they are very young, or they remember a dream from early childhood, or they report an early memory, all of which go something like this: I am very young, in my crib, or on a bed, or in my room. I am totally alone, but I don't mind, I am not lonely, I feel quite safe. I am very peaceful. I am looking at something very beautiful, or I am aware that the room is very beautiful, or the room is suffused with a beautiful light, or I hear music which is very beautiful.

Patients often comment of these experiences, whether memory or dream, that they have great aesthetic intensity, and they underscore the aloneness, and how comfortable the alone-ness feels.

We can think of these experiences, “aloneness with aesthetic pleasure,” as evidence of a profound emotional and developmental step, crucial to the separation-individuation process, involving a shift in object relatedness and libidinal cathexes, emerging some time following the sequence of experiences which Winnicott (1958) described as the capacity to be alone in the presence of the mother, and similar to the three organizers postulated by Spitz (1965).

Spitz describes certain reorganizations of psychic structures during the first year of life, which herald evolving personality capabilities and increasing differentiation within the psychic structure. He identifies three significant and observable factors, which he calls organizers: (1) reciprocal smiling response (p. 117), (2) eight-month anxiety (stranger anxiety) (p.

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