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Firestein, S.K. (1966). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 35:325-325.

(1966). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 35:325-325

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Stephen K. Firestein

DISCUSSION: Dr. Rudolph M. Loewenstein emphasized that the clinical material represented only a sample of patients who react with symptoms to separation from their analysts. The only safe generalization from this small sample is that there is no discoverable, simple correlation between reactions to separation and traumatic separations in early childhood. In five of the cases, preoedipal fixations were characteristic and important. Even where Oedipal conflicts are apparent, the form of anxiety experienced is loss of the object, indicating the related problem of ego regression.

Dr. Max Schur was gratified to note that the rubric 'separation anxiety', had been discarded and separation studied as a problem in development, as a danger to which infant and adult respond in various ways. He cited Freud who emphasized that the first danger is an economic one, absence of gratification. Danger arises secondarily from the absence of the object that provides the gratification. Separation of self from object begins with the development of mental structure; then separation anxiety becomes a normal developmental factor, associated with the beginning development of object constancy.

Dr. Edith Jacobson concurred with Dr. Schur and described two cases of three-year-old children, sufferers from severe separation anxiety. In one case the dynamic impact of primal scene experiences was important. In the other, anxiety was but one element in a depressive syndrome. Dr. Nathan Root noted that an individual's separation reactions vary.

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