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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Greenacre, P. (1980). A Historical Sketch of the Use and Disuse of Reconstruction. Psychoanal. St. Child, 35:35-40.

(1980). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 35:35-40

A Historical Sketch of the Use and Disuse of Reconstruction

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT AN INTEREST IN RECONSTRUCTION IS NATural—that it has a beginning in the child's curiosity about growth, i.e., getting bigger. When a child discovers that his parents were once children like himself, he is amazed and unbelieving. This is then followed by curiosity about these child-parents and how they got that way. These inquiries may later be absorbed and covered over by elements of the family romance and the family saga.

In recent years, reconstruction seems to have almost completely dropped out of psychoanalytic thinking and literature, although it must persist in a limited anonymous way in some analytic practice. It is not clear to me exactly when the term reconstruction gained status in the psychoanalytic vocabulary, nor when its usage began to fade out. Its deeper roots probably lay in the disruption of the original theory of the traumatic basis of neurosis, and in the fact that the cathartic method of treatment had proved inadequate. It had become apparent then that in some instances the supposed sexual trauma had not occurred in fact, but was the imaginative product of the patient's childhood. It was then clearly necessary to understand how such imaginations had arisen and been subsequently forgotten, completely or in part. Some kind of reconstruction was necessary.

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