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Greenacre, P. (1962). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship—Contributions to Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 43:255-256.

(1962). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 43:255-256

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

Phyllis Greenacre


First of all, I would like to emphasize that my own paper was designed as a theoretical rather than a clinical contribution, and consequently some of the clinical questions that were raised I really cannot discuss; I am not sure that I would be able to do so anyway without a good deal of preparation, so I would like to leave those aside. Now I want to thank Miss Freud very especially for her very clear and I think very helpful statement of these practical considerations, which I might just enumerate again. That therapeutic alliance is based on the object-love of the oedipal period. That the transference-cure is the outcome of the educational compliance. And, then, that when the phase of dependence has not been overcome it becomes impossible to analyse—that is, when the primary dependence has never been overcome it becomes impossible to analyse the dependency. The one question that arose in my mind was the degree of failure to overcome that primary dependency, because it seems to me that there is almost surely some slight degree of overcoming it. I think I understand what Miss Freud means there, but I found myself thinking in clinical terms when discussing it with myself. I would also like further to emphasize my appreciation here of the discussion of Miss Freud and others who spoke especially of the mother's role in connexion with the infant. I said in my own paper that I felt the limitation of it did approach almost an artificiality, because I limited myself so much to the problem of aggression and skeletal muscle maturation.

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