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(1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Pregenital Patterning. Phyllis Greenacre. Pp. 410-415.. Psychoanal Q., 23:140-140.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Pregenital Patterning. Phyllis Greenacre. Pp. 410-415.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:140-140

International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952: Pregenital Patterning. Phyllis Greenacre. Pp. 410-415.

Certain preoedipal events distort the orderly development of libidinal phases. Very early stimulation increases somatization of the memories and symptoms caused by the stimulation. Massive or very severe stimulation suffuses he infant with excitement that utilizes all possible channels of discharge. When this occurs, instinctual drives from phases not yet mature may be aroused as well as drives from already matured phases. Genital arousal occurs from an early age in states of frustration or overstimulation. The nature of this premature genital arousal influences the character of the genitality later, both as to performance and pleasure.

Interest in pregenital development is widespread. While the Oedipal period is the most momentous era of psychic and emotional organization, and the Oedipus complex the most significant network of conflicts throughout the entire life, we are beginning to be aware that experiences already accumulated may determine the fate of the Oedipus complex as much as do outer circumstances in the Oedipal period itself. In the overt psychotic or neurotic illness the symptoms will unfold the hidden preoedipal history.

The importance of the libido theory is stressed; its various phases are confirmed by studies of the biological maturation of infants.

Special events of the individual life are examined in relation to maturation of the infant. This investigation is in harmony with Freud's emphasis on the biological foundation of psychoanalysis. When trauma affects the developing organism, the maturational phase at which it occurs is important. So is the nature of the trauma, which may re-enforce the libidinal phase dominant at the time, may inhibit and interfere with it, or may reinstate a previously developed phase. It may call for a response from a phase close to maturity or from one as yet quite immature. Severity and duration of the trauma are also important. The author considers the effects of premature stimulation, of massive stimulation, and of severe and long frustration. She does not believe that the prephallic child is unconcerned about the genital.

Traumatic stimulation in the first year or two of life leads to increased primary narcissism and deformation of ego development. Without analysis of these elements, work with the Oedipus complex as such may be unsuccessful.

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Article Citation

(1954). International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXIII, 1952. Psychoanal. Q., 23:140-140

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