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Segal, H. (1989). Introduction. The Oedipus Complex Today Clinical Implications, 1-10.

Segal, H. (1989). Introduction. The Oedipus Complex Today Clinical Implications, 1-10

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Hanna Segal

Ever since Freud discovered the Oedipus complex it has been recognized as the central conflict in the human psyche—the central cluster of conflicting impulses, phantasies, anxieties and defences. It has therefore become the centre of psychoanalytic work. It is still sometimes mistakenly thought that Klein's work became solely concerned with the baby's relation to the breast and that the role of the father and the Oedipus complex lost in importance in her work. In fact, as is certainly well known by those acquainted with the work, one of Klein's earliest discoveries was that of early forms of the superego and of the Oedipus complex before genital primacy. She discovered that there were primitive forms of the Oedipus complex and that pre-genital does not necessarily mean pre-oedipal. She sees the father—the real father as well as the phantasies about father—as being important in the child's life from the beginning. When she started working with children she was surprised to discover that children not much over two years of age showed oedipal phantasies and had intense anxieties

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