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Oberndorf, C.P. (1934). Depersonalization in Relation to Erotization of Thought. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 15:271-295.

(1934). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 15:271-295

Depersonalization in Relation to Erotization of Thought

C. P. Oberndorf

It is an accepted postulate in psycho-analytical theory that libido may be displaced not only to particular organs of the body, but may also invest psychic function. This may turn the process of thinking into a pleasurable goal or recreation which eventually results in the erotization of thinking activity. Whatever pleasure we ordinarily derive from thinking is due more frequently to the content of the thought than the thinking process itself. In erotization of thought, as in the case where non-sexual physical organs are over-invested with sexual libido, interference with the normal function occurs. Specifically this manifests itself in general or particularized inhibition in thinking. Nunberg (1) mentions that in addition to such total displacement, erotization may be confined to isolated partial impulses, such as the anal, which mechanism he holds responsible for stuttering.

It has come to my notice in certain puzzling mental conditions allied to those states grouped under the term depersonalization, that an erotization of thought is a frequent precursor of such phenomena. In these individuals a mixture of 'masculine' and 'feminine' mental tendencies persisted up to the time when the feelings of unreality appeared and seemed to have a definite etiologic significance. The thinking often followed the thought pattern of the parent of the opposite sex. The thought pattern of that parent need not necessarily be of the type which I will subsequently characterize as 'masculine' or 'feminine'. But the child identifies the type of thinking with the sex of the parent. It is also true that pure types of masculine and feminine thinking are rare and cannot always be separated from 'feeling', but a preponderance of type usually coincides with the physiologic sex. Either abruptly or gradually, the patient appreciates that his thinking is incompatible with the type of thinking regarded as normal for his sex.

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