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Silverman, D.K. (2003). Mommy Nearest: Revisiting the Idea of Infantile Symbiosis and Its Implications for Females. Psychoanal. Psychol., 20(2):261-270.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 20(2):261-270

Mommy Nearest: Revisiting the Idea of Infantile Symbiosis and Its Implications for Females

Doris K. Silverman, Ph.D.

Infantile symbiosis has a lengthy history. The concept, initiated by Freud and then taken up by Anna Freud and subsequent analysts, has continued to be theorized. It has been seen as especially relevant in the developmental history of females. This article, while acknowledging the importance of symbiosis as a construct in mental life, nonetheless challenges the infantile symbiosis concept and offers contrasting data. An alternative view is presented for early and ongoing experiences of symbiosis. Brief historical contributions from early feminists are offered as shaping and impacting psychoanalytic thought. Psychoanalytic theory, on the other hand, utilized and fostered the notion of an early symbiotic tie thereby configuring women's understanding of their needs and desires.

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