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Elson, M. (1986). Parenthood. A Dynamic Perspective. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 13:357-358.

(1986). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 13:357-358

Parenthood. A Dynamic Perspective

Miriam Elson


A critical response to one's work can be a refreshing opportunity to consider opposing or conflicting views and an opportunity to enlarge one's understanding. Unfortunately, Dr Peltz's review of Parenthood: A Dynamic Perspective, Cohen, Cohler & Weissman, Editors, did not offer such an opportunity. He singles out a number of chapters for discussion which seriously distort the intention or meaning of their authors. I can, however, address only his response to my contribution, 'Transformation of Narcissism in Parenthood'.

Peltz has garbled its meaning and provides a quote from the article to support his distortion, using three dots which suggest a minor omission. The quotation in full with the omission in italics reads as follows:

'Thus self psychology permits us to understand that parents may indeed experience with each child a reactivation of deficits or distortions at any phase of their development,

but maturer forms of narcissism—as increased empathy with childhood needs, increased wisdom and creativity, and specifically the ability to respond to the child as a center of initiative and perception—now permit the parents to perform their caretaking function without unempathic intrusion of their own conflicts. The parental self may be sorely taxed by intrapsychic or interpersonal events, but it is as parents offer themselves as precursors of psychic structure that the forming self of the child is supported

and that parents may be able to fill in their own earlier deficits or distortions or manage more effectively with what they now learn about themselves.

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