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McDougall, J. (1989). The Dead Father: On Early Psychic Trauma and its Relation to Disturbance in Sexual Identity and in Creative Activity. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:205-219.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:205-219

The Dead Father: On Early Psychic Trauma and its Relation to Disturbance in Sexual Identity and in Creative Activity

Joyce McDougall

SUMMARY

This paper explores the origins of two clinical phenomena which are frequently related in analytic practice, namely sexual deviancy and inhibition in creative or intellectual work. The analysands in question seek psychoanalytic help not for their sexual acts and object-choices but because of blockage in their professional activities.

In the author's opinion the roots of both sexual deviancy and creativity may often be traced back to early psychic trauma. The sexual 'solution' and the creative activity both represent ways of attempting to overcome the traumatic situation of infancy.

These propositions are illustrated by the case of an author who sought help because her writing was completely blocked and because her homosexual love-relations caused tension and concern. The sudden death of her father when she was fifteen months old and her mother's disturbed way of handling the tragic situation were decisive factors in both the patient's sexual and professional life.

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