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Joffe, W.G. Sandler, J. (1965). Notes on Pain, Depression, and Individuation. Psychoanal. St. Child, 20:394-424.

(1965). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 20:394-424

Notes on Pain, Depression, and Individuation

W. G. Joffe and Joseph Sandler, Ph.D.


The Depressive Reaction

In a previous study of depression in children (Sandler and Joffe, 1965), based on material from the Hampstead Index, a picture which was called the Depressive Reaction was isolated. It was characterized by a mood which was variously described by therapists as "sadness," "unhappiness" or "depression." This mood had both mental and bodily components. The child looked unhappy, had little interest in his surroundings, and appeared withdrawn, bored or listless. He had a feeling of discontent with what was offered to him and showed little capacity for pleasure. He communicated a sense of feeling rejected or unloved, and showed a readiness to turn away from disappointing objects. He was not prepared to accept help or comfort readily, and if he did respond at all, his underlying disappointment and dissatisfaction would re-emerge. He showed a tendency to regress to passive oral attitudes and behavior. Insomnia


The material used has been collected at the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic, a therapeutic and research center financed by the following foundations: The Field Foundation, Inc., New York: The Anna Freud Foundation, New York; The Estate of Flora Haas, New York; The Old Dominion Foundation, U.S.A.; The Psychoanalytic Research and Development Fund, Inc., New York; and the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

This investigation was supported (in part) by Public Health Service Grant M-5683, MH (L) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Particular acknowledgment is due to E. Dansky, S. Baker, I. Elkan, and members of the Depression Research Group of the Hampstead Psychoanalytic Index, for their collaboration in the work which led to this paper; and to Anna Freud, James Strachey, and A. J. Solnit for helpful suggestions.

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