Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To use the Information icon…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

The Information icon (an i in a circle) will give you valuable information about PEP Web data and features. You can find it besides a PEP Web feature and the author’s name in every journal article. Simply move the mouse pointer over the icon and click on it for the information to appear.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

(1987). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 56:745-746.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:745-746

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

DISCUSSION: Dr. Eleanor Galenson pointed out the three themes emphasized in Dr. McDevitt's case material. (1) The sense of gender identity begins to emerge only very gradually at the end of the second year of life and becomes more complex in the next several years even before the oedipal period. (2) This gradual development of gender identity is shaped in large part by the mother's unconscious fantasies that are activated by the child's drive-directed sexual and aggressive behavior, which normally begins to emerge at the end of the second year. (3) The child feels anxiety over possible maternal loss, which motivates him to maintain attachment to his mother, even at the cost of compromised drive and ego development. Dr. McDevitt utilized the analytic material from his treatment of a young boy to illustrate these three themes in an unusually clear manner. He offered convincing evidence that gender identity is established to a marked degree during the preoedipal period and that the mother's unconscious fantasies do indeed influence the direction as well as the form of the child's sense of gender identity.

Dr. Ernest Kafka noted that the child's mother had early suppressed his assertive behavior. The boy began to behave in a feminine way, evidently to comply with his mother's wishes and to maintain a playful relationship with her. He feared and mother's abandoning him (as she had done during his toddler period). His fear and anxiety were followed by anger, which was expressed in feminine identification with mother via castrating fantasies and games in which the child played his mother's part. This was an identification with the aggressor that converted passivity into a form of activity; it also expressed the child's wish to appropriate his mother's power and to rival her.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.