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Meisel, F. (1989). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XL, 1985: Intergenerational Separation-Individuation. Treating the Mother-Infant Pair. Peter Blos, Jr. Pp. 41-56.. Psychoanal Q., 58:166-167.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XL, 1985: Intergenerational Separation-Individuation. Treating the Mother-Infant Pair. Peter Blos, Jr. Pp. 41-56.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:166-167

Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XL, 1985: Intergenerational Separation-Individuation. Treating the Mother-Infant Pair. Peter Blos, Jr. Pp. 41-56.

Frederick Meisel

Blos begins with a clear summary of Mahler's concept of separation-individuation: "separation refers to the psychological process of differentiation, the setting apart of one being from another. Individuation refers to … the process of consolidation and integration within the newly differentiated being." He then presents two cases which illustrate the maternal side of the differentiation process, in which mother-infant psychotherapy allowed "the maternal neurosis which threatened to engulf the baby and distort development" to be placed where it belonged—in the mother's past. The first case demonstrates how a control struggle around eating originated in the mother's own struggle with her strict and estranged mother. When the mother achieved insight into this, the struggle was ended, and the infant began once again to thrive. The second case was more complicated; the mother saw her

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infant as a rival for the attention of her own unresponsive and depriving mother, but this mother too was able to resolve her displaced neurotic feelings toward her child in a relatively short time. Blos then asks, "Why can these mothers change with such ease?" He concludes that it is possible because of the "normative potential for psychic restructuring" which occurs with pregnancy and delivery for mothers and which lasts into the toddler years of these infants.

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Article Citation

Meisel, F. (1989). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. XL, 1985. Psychoanal. Q., 58:166-167

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