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Hyttinen, R. (2002). The archaic superego: the guard of instincts from childhood to adolescence. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 25(1):48-55.

(2002). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 25(1):48-55

The archaic superego: the guard of instincts from childhood to adolescence

Raimo Hyttinen, M.D.

In this paper, the author describes the primitive emotional roots of the development of the archaic superego and its repetition during adolescence regression, “the second chance” of one's psychosexual development. According to the author, the phase during which the baby is able to feel concern is fundamental to the development of the superego. During adolescence, a generation gap and confrontation are a prerequisite for the creation of the potential space (the adolescence hut) which is needed for an age-appropriate development. The author argues for a conception according to which the re-integration of the archaic superego can take place in this space. Even though the archaic superego is strict and unconditional by nature, it is still the provider of the safety and shelter which are needed in one's internal development. The author discusses the implications of these ideas for the techniques in adolescent psychoanalysis. The ideas presented here are in accordance with Sigmund Freud's initial views on the caretaking nature of the superego and its development in the interaction between the instinctual life and the facilitating environment.

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