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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Settlage, C.F. Bemesderfer, S. Rosenthal, J. Afterman, J. Spielman, P.M. (1991). The Appeal Cycle in Early Mother-Child Interaction: Nature and Implications of a Finding from Developmental Research. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:987-1014.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:987-1014

The Appeal Cycle in Early Mother-Child Interaction: Nature and Implications of a Finding from Developmental Research

Calvin F. Settlage, M.D., Sandra Bemesderfer, Ph.D., Judith Rosenthal, D.S.W., Joseph Afterman, M.D. and Philip M. Spielman, M.D.

ABSTRACT

The appeal cycle was observed and delineated through research on mother-child interaction during the second year of life. As a repeated, circumscribed unit of developmental interaction, it is conceived to be an agent of developmental process and psychic structure formation. The appeal cycle has four phases: the adaptational phase, the distress phase, the appeal phase, and the interactional phase. The progression from the adaptational into the distress and appeal phases evidences the child's separation anxiety and failure of self-regulation in response to the experimentally induced attenuation of the mother-child relationship. A successful interactional phase reestablishes the relationship, regulates and restores the child's emotional equilibrium, and enables a return to self-regulation and adaptation. Because the interaction reinforces the functions and structures being developed through identification with the mother,

the interactional phase is conceived to be an instrumental event in the mediation of psychic structure formation. The appeal cycle is discussed in comparison with similar phenomena in earlier phases of development and with other studies addressing development during the first two years of life. Directions for future research are noted.

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