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Bornstein, S. (1935). A Child Analysis. Psychoanal Q., 4:190-225.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4:190-225

A Child Analysis

Steff Bornstein

The following analysis of a three-year-old boy was terminated with a favorable therapeutic result after about a hundred hours of treatment. The analysis was not extensive enough to yield reliable information on all the problems involved in the child's illness and development, but its relatively short duration becomes an asset in the presentation of the case, since it allows a comprehensive view of the analytic procedure.

The report of this case is also interesting, because it demonstrates again in an impressive way the importance of an early traumatic experience for the later instinctual development. The determining experience which materially disturbed the development of this child occurred at the early age of one and a half years. It released genital anxiety in a period prior to the establishment of the genital primacy, at a time when pregenital instinctual claims still stood in the foreground. The effect of precocious genital anxiety was the inhibition of pregenital strivings. All the child's sadistic impulses which emerged in the age period between one and three quarters and three years suffered an immediate suppression, anal impulses were repressed, and the repressed material then broke through in neurotic symptoms. But the anxiety which hindered the development of the pregenital erotism disturbed also the progression to genital strivings; as soon as the latter began to emerge they became charged (cathected) with anxiety and were repressed. Another circumstance deserves our attention, namely the discovery of the early age (even prior to the attainment of genital primacy) at which a germinating positive Oedipus attitude can be diverted and turned toward the parent of the same sex.

Peter was brought to analysis shortly before his third birthday because both he and those responsible for his care were suffering from his symptom of inability to pass his stool.

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