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(1987). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 56:745.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:745

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

February 25, 1986. PRE-OEDIPAL DETERMINANTS OF AN INFANTILE GENDER DISORDER. (The Margaret S. Mahler Memorial Meeting.) John B. McDevitt, M.D.

The paucity of analytic data about children with disturbances in sexual identity is frequently mentioned in the analytic literature. Dr. McDevitt presented data from and formulations based on four times weekly analysis with a four-year-old boy who wanted to be a girl. His presentation was organized in three sections: first, the history as given by the mother; second, the child's concerns as revealed in the analysis; and finally, the analyst's efforts, utilizing this data and the findings of observational research to examine the determinants of the child's disorder. The most essential determinants of the child's feminine identification included the mother's need to shape the boy in a feminine direction because of her own anxieties over sexual and aggressive impulses, along with the boy's passive willingness to be shaped during his first eighteen months. Also involved was his need to actively defend himself against his own anxieties over aggressive and sexual wishes by taking over the shaping of himself in an active form, in other words by actively identifying with his mother, beginning as early as eighteen months of age.

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