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Harris, M. (1974). Chapter Nine: Depression and the Depressive Position in an Adolescent Boy (1965; 1974). Adolescence: Talks and Papers by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris, 117-130.

Harris, M. (1974). Chapter Nine: Depression and the Depressive Position in an Adolescent Boy (1965; 1974). Adolescence: Talks and Papers by Donald Meltzer and Martha Harris , 117-130

Chapter Nine: Depression and the Depressive Position in an Adolescent Boy (1965; 1974) Book Information Previous Up Next

Martha Harris

The clinical material in this paper will be centred around a dream, reported by a boy of fifteen and a half years after some three and a half years of analysis. In its context the dream, which was an important and vivid experience for him, typically conveys, I think, the picture of a patient struggling against those aspects of himself that perpetuate depression and inanition. He struggles to be able to face the conflict of ambivalence and the guilt it entails, and to maintain the depressive position—i.e. a state of integration, of responsibility for the conflicting emotions and parts of himself in relation to valued objects.

I am assuming that pathological depression ensues from an inability to face pain and to work through the depressive anxiety occasioned by some experience of loss or disappointment. This inability then leads to failure to rehabilitate the lost object or the object which has betrayed one, within the personality.

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