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Urban, E. (1989). Childhood Deafness: Compensatory deintegration of the self. J. Anal. Psychol., 34(2):143-157.

(1989). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 34(2):143-157

Childhood Deafness: Compensatory deintegration of the self

Elizabeth Urban, M.A., CQSW

Deafness is an impairment to communication and a handicap to taking in and expressing, and therefore to relating. Inasmuch as to be human is to communicate with the outside world and others in it, deafness significantly affects those who are deaf, and this paper sets out to show some of the ways how.

Since 1977 I have had contact with profoundly and pre-lingually deaf children in my capacity as school health social worker at a primary school for the deaf. Virtually all I know about deafness is derived from my dealings with these children and their families, and I want to acknowledge my indebtedness to them. I should also point out that my knowledge is limited to profound and pre-lingual deafness, and does not necessarily extend to deafness acquired in later life.

Introduction

One of the core concepts used by London Jungians is that of the self. This concept was introduced by Jung and later clarified and developed by Michael Fordham, who extended Jung's theory to early infancy and childhood.

Inherent in Fordham's theory is that the infant is an autonomous communicator from birth. Fordham postulates an original self; a primary wholeness that represents the core of the individual's potential, much as the DNA molecule contains within it the potential of the organism. The neonate begins from this state of unity and is seen by Fordham as essentially separate from its mother, coming into relationship with her via the processes of deintegration and reintegration. The infant self emerges from a primary state of integration to unfold, by way of approach and attachment behaviours, precise needs that must be met in precise ways in the outside world. The infant can connect those needs to the outside world only when there is a close fit between its needs and the responses to them.

Because

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