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Martin, P.A. (1964). Psychoanalytic Aspects of that Type of Communication Termed "Small Talk". J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 12:392-400.

(1964). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 12:392-400

Psychoanalytic Aspects of that Type of Communication Termed "Small Talk"

Peter A. Martin, M.D.


During their analyses, several patients complained of a difficulty in carrying on an everyday type of communication involving the seemingly unimportant daily subjects of conversation that encompass "small talk." This difficulty varied from mild inhibition to severe symptom formation. The material from one of these analyses is presented.

The material investigated led to the conclusion that the problem is primarily the result of disturbed object relations. The affected individual reacts to a current social situation with an unresolved transference reaction involving fusion or linkage fantasies. It is suggested that the normal functions of the ego facilitating verbal communication are not operative from this fixation point. Separation and individuation are prerequisites for normal development of the ego function of speech.

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