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Edgar, J.R. (1990). Psychoanalytic Inquiry. VIII, 1988: Character, Dyadic Enactments, and the Need for Symbiosis. John E. Gedo. Pp. 459-471.. Psychoanal Q., 59:328.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Psychoanalytic Inquiry. VIII, 1988: Character, Dyadic Enactments, and the Need for Symbiosis. John E. Gedo. Pp. 459-471.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:328

Psychoanalytic Inquiry. VIII, 1988: Character, Dyadic Enactments, and the Need for Symbiosis. John E. Gedo. Pp. 459-471.

James R. Edgar

Gedo traces the history of the controversy over the intrapsychic and the interpersonal, suggesting that the concept of character ("a set of structured mental dispositions that mediate the individual's transactions with his environment") be used to bridge the two realms of discourse. He sees a tendency toward polarization and gives reasons for it. In its most polarized form, the conflict is between those who feel that the crucial issue in character formation is the resolution of the oedipus complex and the way one comes to deal with intrapsychic conflicts typical of this period, as opposed to those who focus on self-esteem regulation and autonomy related to pregenital phases and the influences of earlier infant caretaker transactions. Those patients with a predominance of pregenital influences on their character development will tend to form more archaic transferences, the most frequent being what Gedo calls therapeutic symbiosis. Going beyond Kohut, Gedo says that there are many forms of archaic transferences and that these are "adaptive maneuvers acquired in childhood in order to compensate for some preexisting deficiency." These "archaic transferences" lead to "dyadic enactments" within many analyses without being acknowledged. He suggests we pay more attention to these dyadic enactments in a systematic way, as he believes that the failure to respond to needs inherent in these archaic transferences will lead to premature interruption of an analysis. These dyadic enactments do not preclude the establishment of a more classical analysis of oedipal materials.

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Article Citation

Edgar, J.R. (1990). Psychoanalytic Inquiry. VIII, 1988. Psychoanal. Q., 59:328

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