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Ramzy, I. Malkin, J.S. (1979). The Infantile Neurosis in Child and Adult Analysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27:643-654.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27:643-654

The Infantile Neurosis in Child and Adult Analysis

Ishak Ramzy, Ph.D. and Jocelyn S. Malkin, M.D.

In his introductory remarks, Ishak Ramzy indicated that abiding interest in the study of the mental life of children was perhaps unique to the discipline of psychoanalysis, and is reflected in the secure place of the concept of the infantile neurosis in present-day psychoanalytic theory and the belief in its ubiquity, which has been buttressed by the weight of accumulated clinical evidence gathered from the psychoanalysis of youngsters and adults and by our fundamental belief in determinism as it related to understanding problems of illness or health.

Among the questions Ramzy hoped would be discussed by the panelists were: What was an infantile neurosis? Was it congenital or acquired, oedipal or preoedipal, separate from defects, mainly related to emotional conflicts, subjectively determined, or environmentally imposed? What is its fate throughout life? What is its relevance for clinical practice in old and young alike? He concluded with a word of caution, drawn from Anna Freud's comments at a symposium in 1970—namely, that it would be a grave mistake to assume that the infantile neurosis was the only representative of infantile psychopathology, especially as this is currently being investigated by reconstruction from adult analysis, by child analysis, by direct observation from birth of infants and young children, with the oedipal phase at the end, not the beginning, of our study.


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