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Brauer, P.H. (1962). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 31:148.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:148

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Paul H. Brauer

DISCUSSION: All of the discussants found the paper highly interesting and original. It was discussed by Drs. Rudolph Loewenstein, Albert Rosner, Max Schur, Walter Stewart, and Martin Wangh. Their observations are extracted and combined. It was felt that none of the theoretical concepts were sufficiently supported by the clinical material and the animal experiments. The weight of evidence is still in favor of the probability that during the first months of life structureformation is promoted by an optimum of phase-adequate stimulation and gratification; that it is only later, when withdrawal apparatus has reached some maturation, that the infant can develop his adaptive inhibiting structures. It is difficult, if not impossible, in very young infants to distinguish between libidinous and aggressive expression and activity. As he develops, one can only observe fixation and patterns of reaction energized by both drives whose schema was established earlier. Differentiation of self from object is a complicated, multidetermined, long-term process, involving complex ego development of both drives. Dr. Rosner added that the more aggressivized the earliest relation to the original object, the greater the likelihood of libidinization of the defense against it. Escalona's children do not necessarily illustrate that earlier differentiation between self and object leads to disturbed object relations. Dr. Wangh felt that it proved the opposite; that the second child had an earlier differentiation between self and mother and a better object relationship. Reconstruction from early life, especially in psychotic patients, is always dangerous. Dr. Loewenstein thought that the patient's regressive behavior did not illustrate memory of past experience and that it was more than an attempt to please the analyst in an old pattern. It involved regression to the point of nondistinction between self and nonself. He cited a case to illustrate how important it is for a schizophrenic to depersonalize and abstract the analyst: the patient referred to 'this place' rather than 'you', meaning the analyst. Several discussants wondered whether Harlow's monkeys, reared with doll-mothers, had an ever-present, always available, nonfrustrating mother.

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