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Gardner, G.E. Rexford, E.N. (1954). II. Child Analysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 2:327-335.

(1954). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 2:327-335

II. Child Analysis

George E. Gardner, M.D. and Eveoleen N. Rexford, M.D.

The panel on Child Analysis consisted of two sections, each centered around one paper. At the morning session Erik H. Erikson presented "Adolescence and Identity, " a review of his delineation of the concept of identity, in the light of two years of research in adolescent problems.

The concept of identity, that is, of the connection between the inner identity of an individual's core and that of his group's, is the cornerstone of Erikson's research into the transition period from late adolescence to young adulthood. Freud spoke of "inner identity" when he tried to formulate his link to Judaism as not based on race or religion but on the willingness to stand in opposition and isolation and on the ability to think clearly without undue interference by such matters as national pride.

George Bernard Shaw arranged for himself a psychosocial moratorium at the age of twenty when his identity crisis led him to leave his native city, his family, friends and familiar work. Details of Shaw's sharp-witted self-analysis were presented. Shaw sums up his solution, "I had the intellectual habit; and my natural combination of critical faculty with literary resource needed only a clear comprehension of life in the light of an intelligible theory; in short, a religion, to set it in triumphant operation." Erikson observed, "Here the old cynic has circumscribed in one sentence what the psychosocial aspect of the identity formation of any human being must add up to: a conflict-free, habitual use of a dominant faculty, ready to be elaborated into an occupation; a dominant bent in this faculty determining the specialization in this occupation; a limitless resource in some traditional endeavor and finally, an intelligible theory of the processes of life and a comprehensive faith, that is an ideology.

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