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Dimon, J. (1987). Self and Object Constancy: Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives: Edited by Ruth F. Lax, Sheldon Bach & J. Alexis Burland. New York: The Guilford Press. 1986. Pp. 355.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:433-435.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:433-435

Self and Object Constancy: Clinical and Theoretical Perspectives: Edited by Ruth F. Lax, Sheldon Bach & J. Alexis Burland. New York: The Guilford Press. 1986. Pp. 355.

Review by:
Jim Dimon

This book, dedicated to Margaret Mahler ('independent thinker, researcher, and inspiring teacher'), brings together articles by seventeen authors. There is an enormous range of interests (various points of developmental theory, various questions about clinical theory and intervention) and influences (S. Freud, Hartmann, Jacobson, Kohut, Winnicott, touches of Klein), but all authors owe an intellectual debt to Mahler's opus on the development of object constancy. Reading this volume thus provides a window on the history of a psychoanlaytic idea—its extensions, revisions, applications, and ritualizations. The diversity of voices requires a liberal allotment of time for reading and critiquing.

The first piece is, appropriately, McDevitt & Mahler's 1980 article, 'Object constancy, individuality, and internalization'. They summarize their developmental schema and clarify a commonly confused point: why they place the attainment of object constancy in the third year of life, later than many developmentalists. To this end, they contrast two concepts, 'the representational world' and 'the internal world'. The representational world is an intrapsychic map of the external world. Within this descriptive/cognitive framework one can question at what point a child demonstrates an ability to evoke the image of his mother.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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