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Greenacre, P. (1979). Reconstruction and the Process of Individuation. Psychoanal. St. Child, 34:121-144.

(1979). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 34:121-144

Theoretical Contributions

Reconstruction and the Process of Individuation

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.


IT IS MY INTENTION TO DISCUSS CERTAIN VICISSITUDES OF DEVELOPment in the first year of infancy, and to focus especially on the reciprocal processes of separation and individuation. At this early time growth and maturation proceed at an extraordinary pace and can be viewed from many different angles. It is difficult to do justice to the complex set of forces already at work at a time that we used to consider simple, protected, and almost nirvanalike. I hope to indicate some of the ways in which disturbances in separation and individuation affect and may increase later neurotic problems. What I can contribute is drawn from clinical experience in the course of many years of analytic and psychiatric work. I am of course dependent for background knowledge on the psychologists and psychoanalysts as well as the physiologists and pediatricians who have made and are still making careful observational studies of growth and development both of body and behavior in these first years. Such studies have furnished material from many different angles and have yielded important findings. I have been especially stimulated by the work of Winnicott and of Mahler.

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