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Freud, A. (1962). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:240-242.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:240-242

The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion Related Papers

Anna Freud


I think I would not use the time given to me here to the best advantage if I tried to amplify the papers given by Dr Greenacre and Dr Winnicott. I feel very happy with the manner in which Dr Greenacre has centred her communications on a maturational point of view, and also with the way in which Dr Winnicott has centred his on parental care. They have done their own summing up, and no more is necessary. Perhaps it is left for me, then, and for those who follow me in discussion, to branch out from these two papers as a given starting-point for more thought as it occurs to a psycho-analyst who deals with either adults or children, and works on similar lines.

The first point that occurs to me then is the following: for several years already, since the preoccupation with the pre-verbal phase of development began in psycho-analytic circles, I have asked myself privately: 'Are we here on new ground for a psycho-analyst? Or has this specific line of exploration been foreshadowed in psycho-analysis from its beginnings?' A number of quotations have been brought in in the papers of both Dr Greenacre and Dr Winnicott from Freudian writings to show the early beginnings of such interest. I shall add a few more, though I cannot be certain that I have found them all. The phase of early dependence in child development then, if we approach it more closely, reveals itself as an old friend, and one commented on repeatedly. In Freud's writings it appears as 'the biological factor' that the young of the human race go through a long period of dependence and helplessness, and this period is made responsible for a number of important developments in later life, i.

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