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(1962). Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York. Psychoanal Q., 31:446-447.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 31:446-447

Meetings of the Psychoanalytic Association of New York


Analysis of four people, in whom varying degrees of fetishistic behavior was noted, aided in elucidating certain factors in the development of fetishists. Freud stated that the fetish represented the female phallus, an imaginary organ, but omitted consideration of actual anatomical parts that are embodied in the final mental representation. Dr. Dickes presents clinical material which demonstrates that, in addition to the original significance of the fetish described by Freud, the fetish eventually signifies the parents reduced to their sexual parts or the parents as partial objects—an early stage in object development. For example, a woman presented material showing that a folded pillow, her fetish, represented the fused anovulval area of her mother; the father's sexual parts were also included in the final significance of this patient's fetish. Similar phenomena were found in other patients.

The literature yields little information on objects antecedent to the final fetish. In the author's patients, experiences with early objects were remembered and these antecedent objects were related to the final fetish. They were similar to the transitional objects described by Winnicott or to the childhood fetishes described by Wulff. A continuum was found to exist between transitional objects, childhood fetishes, and final adult fetishes; e.g.,

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