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Jelliffe, S.E. (1915). Technique of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(4):409-421.

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(4):409-421

Technique of Psychoanalysis

Smith Ely Jelliffe

These conscious attitudes to the members of the family group are not, however, invariable criteria of his more fundamental unconscious ones, yet they are of great importance in affording clues to early infantile repressions. The family is the first training camp, as it were, for the child's activities in gaining his social bearings. His later attitude toward men, women and things is patterned largely after his infantile models. We can here trace the workings of the œdipus formula in its gradual evolution away from phantasy to reality.

This formula has shown that the boy must have certain attitudes toward others of the same sex, mostly antagonisms, from the primitive wellspring of energy, and attractions toward all others of an opposite sex.

A young woman to whom, in the early days of my psychoanalytic work, I had announced the œdipus principle rather crudely, responded with much heat, “But I have always loved my mother, and we three sisters are devotedly attached to one another. The idea of rivalry among us sisters is impossible.”

“Yes, yes,” I said, “that is true, but you are speaking of your conscious attitudes. We will not comprehend the pain between your shoulder blades by accepting the conscious attitude as the whole story, we must see what is on the other side of the picture.”

It did not take long, by the study of the unconscious processes, to find that the pain between the shoulder blades was the symbol of a “stab in the back” from her, consciously, most loved sister.

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