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Feder, L. (1980). Preconceptive Ambivalence and External Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:161-178.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:161-178

Preconceptive Ambivalence and External Reality

Luis Feder


The purpose of the paper is to describe a preconceptive stage in the biological parents, never free from ambivalence, causing minor or major conflicts in the child from birth on. Throughout these contributions we hope to supply a few of the missing links in the area of psychogenesis. The parents, as initial external objects, harbour these ambivalencies and exert their influence throughout the child's development.

We present Freud's seldom, if ever, quoted case history recording material on parental death-wishes and fantasied infanticide. It symbolizes how its omission has left this data strewn, not only in Freud's writings, but in the daily material of many clinical psychoanalysts. Perhaps many of us have identified with its exclusion from the general consensus of the theory, and equally made little use of our own vital observations.

But psychoanalysis does not have to continue identifying with what seems to be a universal repression around genesis, specifically preconceptive psychogenesis. Yet, this portion is omitted from the oedipal myth, ranging from clinical history-taking, from preconceptive fantasies before the first analytic hour, from the mutual ambivalence of aspirants and institutes during the admission procedures, up to the psychoanalyst's ambivalence in accepting a new patient. Most certainly this state of affairs has hindered the practice of clinical and didactic psychoanalysis considerably.

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