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O'Shaughnessy, E. (1989). Chapter Four: The Invisible Oedipus Complex. The Oedipus Complex Today Clinical Implications, 129-150.
   

O'Shaughnessy, E. (1989). Chapter Four: The Invisible Oedipus Complex. The Oedipus Complex Today Clinical Implications, 129-150

Chapter Four: The Invisible Oedipus Complex Book Information Previous Up

Edna O'Shaughnessy

A current controversy about the Oedipus complex is whether it is indeed universal and of central importance, still to be regarded as ‘the nuclear complex of development’. It is a clinical fact that there are long periods of analysis—possibly, some have suggested, even whole analyses—in which there seem to be little or even no oedipal material. In trying to account for this fact, analysts have taken different ways. One way, taken by Kohut and his followers (Kohut, 1971), is to set the Oedipus complex aside, posit a theory of self-psychology and advise a new clinical technique, which focuses on deficit and offers restoration. Kleinians take an opposite way. Their approach, when the Oedipus complex is what I am calling ‘invisible’, is that this is so, not because it is unimportant, but because it is so important and felt by the patient (from whatever causes) to be so unnegotiable that he employs psychic means to make and keep it invisible.

In this chapter I focus on one small area of the Oedipus

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