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Abend, S.M. (1988). Intrapsychic Versus Interpersonal: The Wrong Dilemma. Psychoanal. Inq., 8(4):497-504.

(1988). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 8(4):497-504

Intrapsychic Versus Interpersonal: The Wrong Dilemma

Sander M. Abend, M.D.

I do not want you to think that I plan to avoid the question this conference asks us to consider, but I must tell you at the outset that I think you have directed attention to the wrong dilemma. Freud was reputed to have said that history would remember him for discovering that children have sexual lives and dreams have meaning; however, both discoveries were already familiar to every nursemaid in Vienna. Although the implications of Freud's findings about dreams are not in question here today, the same cannot be said about his views of the consequences of children's sexual lives. The evolution of psychoanalytic thought is filled with divergences labeled as advances by their proponents and as avoidances or mistakes by their critics. At the heart of the vast majority of those differences is one or another variation on the question of whether or not infantile sexuality is as important in the mental lives of human beings as Freud said it was.

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