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(1962). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: Some Observations on the Relationship Between Genitality and Structural Development at Adolescence. Marjorie Harley. Pp. 434-460.. Psychoanal Q., 31:418.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: Some Observations on the Relationship Between Genitality and Structural Development at Adolescence. Marjorie Harley. Pp. 434-460.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:418

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961: Some Observations on the Relationship Between Genitality and Structural Development at Adolescence. Marjorie Harley. Pp. 434-460.

The strengthened genitality at adolescence is the most powerful stimulus to the ego to change and grow. However, when the ego has failed at earlier maturational levels (particularly in the phallic-oedipal phase), it is unable to deal with the increasing genital and aggressive pressures of puberty and rigidly opposes change and growth. By contrast, the child who has been able to assimilate his active phallic strivings and secure a firm, positive Oedipal position is more likely to enter latency with his genital the most important erotogenic zone, his homosexual tendencies outweighed by heterosexual ones, and a sufficiently firm core of inner identity to permit the continuing partial identifications necessary for sound superego development. The pregenital sadistic components of his superego will be tempered by nuclear forgiving and tender elements. This enables his ego to tolerate the increasing internalization of the superego and his ego ideal to gather its own cluster of ideals.

Following disruption at puberty, the psychic structures are normally enlarged and recast in a sound structural organization. But when the child's phallic-oedipal phase has been aborted, the structural dissolutions at adolescence are limited to pregenital structures. Only in the most favorable cases will the maturational forces of puberty bring about a revival of the premature, forsaken phallic-oedipal position with a subsequent development of genital structures. The author believes that in such cases the physiological changes of puberty (strengthened genitality) may favor analysis. She illustrates this with material from the analysis of a sixteen-year-old boy who has been in uninterrupted treatment with her from the age of nine.

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Article Citation

(1962). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. IX, 1961. Psychoanal. Q., 31:418

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