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Herzog, J.M. (1996). Panel Report: Origin Of Psychic Reality In The Child: Chaired by DIETER BRGIN, Basel. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:379-382.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:379-382

Panel Report: Origin Of Psychic Reality In The Child: Chaired by DIETER BRGIN, Basel

James M. Herzog

The Chairman opened the panel and spoke about the triadic framework, both pre-oedipal and oedipal, in which the origins of psychic reality are embedded. Citing Peter Fonagy's remark in the morning panel that Descartes's ‘cogito ergo sum’ is not the basis of psychic reality, Bürgin suggested that Daniel Stern's concept of the pre-narrative envelope might be more germane. Bürgin's focus was on an object-relations perspective and ways in which the child begins to construct a story about himself with his significant others.

Drawing upon work with a young boy, Peter, that was conducted in the presence of his mother, the first panellist, Douwe Jongbloed, asserted that ‘sometimes it is the task of the analyst to help a child in establishing a transitional psychic reality, since that is a precondition for the development, for the acceptance of an internal psychic reality. The two seem to run together: the interpretation and articulation of what belongs to that internal psychic reality also helps to develop a transistional sphere. There seems to be a developmental conjunction here: the one is both cause and consequence of the other. Together with this goes the awareness and acceptance that other persons have internal psychic realities as well’.

Jongbloed's patient is helped to play and to achieve a ‘make-believe’ quality in this activity. The great Dutch historian Huizenga is quoted to emphasise this transition. A father returns home and kisses his 4-year-old son who is playing trains with chairs.

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