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Perman, J.M. (1979). The Search for the Mother: Narcissistic Regression as a Pathway of Mourning in Childhood. Psychoanal Q., 48:448-464.

(1979). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 48:448-464

The Search for the Mother: Narcissistic Regression as a Pathway of Mourning in Childhood

Joshua M. Perman, M.D.


Previous observers, following Freud's formulations in Mourning and Melancholia, have disagreed over the question of whether the child can mourn. To support the thesis that the child does mourn but in a different way from the adult, the author focuses on the importance of the child's identification with the lost love object, the narcissistic regression, and the associated autoerotic activities. Clinical material is presented from the analysis of a latency child and of an adult, both of whom lost their mothers during childhood.

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