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Rallo, J. De Miguel, A. (1991). The 'Cession' of a Child, Potentially Leading to an 'Alteration of the Ego'. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 18:241-248.

(1991). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 18:241-248

The 'Cession' of a Child, Potentially Leading to an 'Alteration of the Ego'

José Rallo and Angeles De Miguel


Cession, as described for the first time by the authors of this paper, is a specific family situation in which there is both a rejection of maternity and a delegation of maternity to another person, usually the mother or an infertile sister of the real mother. The ceded child feels his adoptive mother to be his 'real' mother. Cessions may be benign or malignant, according to whether guilt is reparatory or persecutory.

We have presented the case of a child in the course of analysis who was ceded upon birth and whom we feel is a good illustration of the most outstanding points of cession.

The early and serious alteration of the ego in this case implies a double pathology which in our judgement is interwoven and which affects both aspects of das Ich, first described by Freud and later differentiated by Hartmann in the 'ego' (functional agency) and 'self' (representation of oneself).

In the introduction to the article, a short chronological review is made of the concept of the alteration of the ego in Freud's work, and some aspects, relevant to the subject-matter of this paper, are commented on.

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