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Shane, E. Shane, M. (1989). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 9(3):333-339.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 9(3):333-339


Estelle Shane, Ph.D. and Morton Shane, M.D.

The papers to follow incorporate diverse theoretical perspectives and focus on different phases in the life cycle. But they share a common commitment to the importance of a developmental perspective. And while each of the authors puts forward his or her own ideas on this perspective, we would like to submit a short statement of our own. We take for granted that psychological development is lifelong, a stance derived initially from our experience as child analysts and then extrapolated to our work with adult patients. For as child analysts working with children in distress we had become accustomed to viewing symptomatology not as a fixed formation but rather as a dynamic entity superimposed upon and related to an underlying, ongoing development process. The process itself is often hampered and skewed; yet it is surprisingly persistent. Analytic experience with adults has revealed to us the usefulness of conceptualizing a similar and still powerful ongoing psychological developmental process in adulthood. This position is in distinct contrast to the view of adulthood as a mature, nondevelopmental state. In this latter view, one completes psychological growth at some designated time, usually with the offset of adolescence, unless development has been impeded earlier by psychotic, neurotic, or character problems.

This dichtomy between the view of psychological development as lifelong versus the view of psychological development as ending at maturity, however maturity is demarcated, inevitably influences one's vision of the analytic process in general.

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