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(1949). Joint Meetings of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Psychoanalytic Societies. Psychoanal Q., 18:416-417.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:416-417

Joint Meetings of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Psychoanalytic Societies

June 16, 1949. THE MOTHER TONGUE AND THE MOTHER. Ralph R. Greenson, M.D.

This paper investigates the relationship between language and the mother. The clinical material is based largely on the analysis of a patient who spoke German for the first sixteen years of her life. Her analysis was conducted in English, a language which she spoke fluently, articulately, and enjoyably. For about a year the analysis proceeded relatively smoothly until certain stubborn resistances became apparent. This was associated with an addiction to an unsuitable man which was not altered by interpretation and working through of Oedipal and transference factors. At this point it was suggested that the analysis be carried on in the mother tongue, since it was felt that in the new language the patient was able to isolate and maintain in repression important emotional and instinctual infantile material.

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