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Buxbaum, E. (1949). Die Angst Des Kindes. (The Anxiety of the Child.): By Marguerite Loosli-Usteri. Bern: Medizinischer Verlag Hans Huber, 1948. 164 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 18:235-237.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:235-237

Die Angst Des Kindes. (The Anxiety of the Child.): By Marguerite Loosli-Usteri. Bern: Medizinischer Verlag Hans Huber, 1948. 164 pp.

Review by:
Edith Buxbaum

This is a translation of Loosli-Usteri's book De l' anxiété enfantine, first published in 1943. Her ideas are based upon Jung's theories of the unconscious, particularly those of the collective unconscious and the archetypes (p. 24).

Loosli-Usteri defines free-floating anxiety or anxiety per se as '… a state of inner restlessness and uncertainty, which originates in the disturbance of balance between the forces of development and those of perseverance (Gleichgewichtsstörung der Kräfte des Werdens und Beharrens)' (p. 40). The expression 'disturbance of balance' is chosen in preference to 'conflict' to indicate that we are dealing with 'the rivalry of superindividual forces which make themselves known both in physical and in psychic existence' (fn., p. 40). The author quotes Lacroze's theory according to which anxiety begins with birth, 'possibly even with conception' (p. 41). It is a phenomenon which goes beyond individual experiences, although these may reinforce existing endogenous anxiety. This is why infants experience anxiety (p. 41)—the child's first affective reaction (p. 42). This fundamental free-floating anxiety, which can also be described as a readiness for anxiety, is not directed to any objects. It is a chronic state which has its roots in life itself and which expresses itself in physical and psychic symptoms. It crystallizes in three different forms of which the first is oppressive anxiety (beklemmende Angst), which is an affect of short duration but extreme intensity, representing a complete, momentary disturbance of the equilibrium between the forces of development and perseverance. Its causes are within the individual and are frequently of somatic origin. Second, anxiety towards objects (gegenständliche Angst), which is more intense than free-floating anxiety, yet less intense than oppressive anxiety. It is an emotion which releases inadequate reactions.

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