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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Cohen, D.W. (2007). Freud's Baby: Beyond Autoerotism and Narcissism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 88(4):883-893.

(2007). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 88(4):883-893

Freud's Baby: Beyond Autoerotism and Narcissism

Dodd W. Cohen

The prevailing notion in the psychoanalytic literature is that Freud's thinking on neonatal object relations is completely captured in terms of his concepts of autoerotism and primary narcissism. Indeed, for Freud, autoerotism and primary narcissism conceptualize the earliest libido distributions, but these concepts do not exhaust Freud's model of early mental life. In this paper, the author endeavors to show that Freud's hypothetical infant arrives at autoerotism and narcissism at the expense of, and secondary to, primitive object-relatedness. More specifically, an appreciation of Freud's views on primitive object relations in light of the self-preservative instinct demonstrates his view that the infant is born into a state of mutual adaptation with the mother. The author makes detailed use of Freud's writings to show his conception of an infant who, from the inception of neonatal life, has the mental sophistication to maintain complex relations with instinctual objects, the sources of gratification or frustration, part-objects confusedly perceived because of cognitive immaturity and/ or fantasy distortion. Such complexity includes the infant's capacity for primitive forms of perception, boundary formation, reality testing, and defensive, splittingbased projections and introjections.

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