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Moses, I. (1995). The “Happy Childhood” of a Depressed Boy (Discussion). Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(3):196-197.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(3):196-197

The “Happy Childhood” of a Depressed Boy (Discussion)

Ira Moses, Ph.D.

Analysts often hear descriptions of the “happy childhood” from patients who report depressing histories. These reports not only include the defenses of idealizations and denial but also contain a “truth” in which this happiness may be a memory trace of a pleasurably shared symbiotic experience with the neurotogenic parent(s). In this case, the oedipal victory (the intense closeness with his mother) is a developmental tragedy impairing his ability to individuate. The analyst must also recognize that the patient's experience with mourning preceded his mother's death as evidenced by the loss of his emotionally distanced father through divorce and his mother's earlier battle with cancer. The patient's characterologoical issues must also be addressed in addition to his acute trauma. Given the compelling nature of this patient's tragedy and suffering, the analyst appears to have helped this patient mature as she avoided the countertransference traps of becoming too emmeshed (like the mother) or too defensively distanced (like the father).

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