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Britton, R. Chused, J. Ellman, S. Likierman, M. (2006). Panel III: The Role of Attachment and Love versus Envy and Destructiveness in the First Year of Life: Affects, Impulses, and Defenses. J. Infant Child Adolesc. Psychother., 5(3):308-350.

(2006). Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 5(3):308-350

Panel III: The Role of Attachment and Love versus Envy and Destructiveness in the First Year of Life: Affects, Impulses, and Defenses

Ron Britton, Judy Chused, Steve Ellman and Meira Likierman

Moderated by:
Florence Williams

Question Three: We have asked the panel to discuss several issues related to affect and defense. What are the crucial anxieties of early life? How crucial is destruction or aggressiveness in these early months? What role does anxieties over attachment and separation play? Do economic considerations, for instance, in the notion of endogenous stimulation, play a large role in the infant's life? What types of defenses are used to deal with these anxieties, and does this change over time? Do the Freudians have a place for unconscious fantasy, projective identification, omnipotence of thought, and mania during the early periods of development? If not, what are the early tools of defense and internalization from a Freudian perspective?

Ron Britton

Well, if you are really going to talk about that, it seems to me that attachment and love sound like an unbeatable team, up against envy and destructiveness and we can guess who is meant to represent that [laughter]. But what would happen if it didn't stay that way, if these teams changed around, and attachment and destructiveness were no longer pitted against love and envy—perhaps if attachment and destructiveness were combined, and then set against love and envy … it sounds like a recipe for civil war. Should we not be used to that? But if we have a civil war, then we have Klein's depressive position, and what remains missing is the urge for knowledge.

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