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Ekstein, R. Caruth, E. (1969). Levels of Verbal Communication in the Schizophrenic Child's Struggle Against, For, and with the World of Objects. Psychoanal. St. Child, 24:115-137.

(1969). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 24:115-137

Aspects of Normal and Pathological Development

Levels of Verbal Communication in the Schizophrenic Child's Struggle Against, For, and with the World of Objects

Rudolf Ekstein, Ph.D. and Elaine Caruth, Ph.D.

He who has mastered any law in his private thoughts, is master to that extent of all men whose language he speaks, and of all into whose language his own can be translated.
—RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1837

As has often been pointed out, although speech is central to the analytic process, few psychoanalytic studies have been devoted to language and its evolvement. What analytic work on language development exists reflects the history of psychoanalytic theory. We can distinguish six phases in the psychoanalytic conceptualizations of language evolvement (Ekstein, 1965). The early Freudian model of 1895, developed in the context of neurophysiological considerations, attributed the emergence of speech—the means of Verständigung—to the early helplessness of the infant, and has indeed been a useful first framework, allowing subsequent generations of workers in this field to fill in the details.

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