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Weissman, P. (1956). On Pregenital Compulsive Phenomena and the Repetition Compulsion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 4:503-510.

(1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 4:503-510

On Pregenital Compulsive Phenomena and the Repetition Compulsion

Philip Weissman, M.D.


Investigation of early developmental phenomena of repetitive activity suggests a differentiation of normal repetitive play from pregenital compulsive behavior and compulsive symptoms. The last two seem to be nonautonomous ego activities and partake of the same psychological apparatus and identifications as the later postlatency obsessional-compulsive phenomena. The pregenital symptom indicates a more intense loss of love object than exists in the pregenital compulsive behavior. The loss leads to a more intensive role for the archaic superego identifications in instinctual control and to a lesser role for the developing ego. Also the discharge of unpleasure in pregenital activity and play is not necessarily an expression of the repetition compulsion. No evidence is available clinically as to the continuity of the prelatency compulsive phenomena with those of postlatency.

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