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(1962). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 31:147-148.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:147-148

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

October 17, 1961. MATERNAL STIMULATION, PSYCHIC STRUCTURE, AND EARLY OBJECT RELATIONS (WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO AGGRESSION AND DENIAL). David L. Rubinfine, M.D.

This paper deals with the structural and economic consequences of frustration and need satisfaction in the development of object relations, and the differentiation of self from nonself. Whereas Piaget has studied the infant's adaptation to relatively conflict-free stimuli, Dr. Rubinfine is here interested in what happens when there is no sensorimotor organization capable of assimilating very painful experiences, such as prolonged absences of the maternal object, disease, or massive overstimulation. He emphasizes that the mechanism of denial and its precursors function to make objects assimilable. Assuming there must be means by which the experience of nongratification can be warded off, he postulates that when tension is strong and frequent the groundwork is laid for fixation to an ego state in which denial, introjection, and projection remain the major defense mechanisms in an attempt to repair the object and make it assimilable. In contrast, when need satisfaction is always available there should be a relative absence of tension which delays the development of the capacity to distinguish self from nonself, and interferes with the development of the capacity to discharge aggressive drives toward external objects. Instead, aggression is turned against the self. If the mother is absent or rarely present, the author assumes that there may be a failure in cathecting the perceptual periphery.

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