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Werman, D.S. (1977). Normal and Pathological Nostalgia. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 25:387-398.

(1977). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 25:387-398

Normal and Pathological Nostalgia

David S. Werman, M.D.

SUMMARY

Nostalgia is distinguished from homesickness from which it was originally derived, and from fantasy to which it is related. It is described as an affective-cognitive experience, usually involving memories of places in one's past. These memories are associated with a characteristic affective coloration described as "bittersweet." It is concluded that the locales remembered are displacements from objects whose representation was repressed. Nostalgia is a ubiquitous human experience that is evoked by particular stimuli under special circumstances, and, while it is generally a normal occurrence, pathological

forms occur. Among those discussed are: nostalgia as a substitute for mourning, as an attempted mastery through idealization and displacement of a painful past, as a resistance in analysis, and as a counterphobic mechanism. Nostalgia not only serves as a screen memory, but may also be said to operate as a screen affect.

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