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Nurnberg, H.G. Shapiro, L.M. (1983). The Central Organizing Fantasy. Psychoanal. Rev., 70(4):493-503.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Review, 70(4):493-503

The Central Organizing Fantasy

H. George Nurnberg and Leon M. Shapiro

In 1933, Dr. Edward Glover wrote a paper entitled “Relation of Perversion Formation to the Development of Reality Sense.” One of the aims of the paper was an inquiry into how far the perversions served to promote or preserve a sense of reality by localizing and eroticizing unconscious conflict regarding displaced infantile objects. While the paper made an important classical contribution to the concept of development sequences, it has become increasingly difficult to understand as modern theory has changed its emphasis from energics to concern with (1) the ways in which early development structures the meaning of fantasies which are brought forward into the life of an adult, and (2) the relationship between early object relations and the structure of fantasy.

A perversion requires specialized events and conditions to achieve sexual excitement and these conditions are achieved by specific selection and by avoidance of aspects of the real world. Glover's idea is that while the perversion seems to go hand in hand with some distortion of reality sense, it may permit the individual to remain in contact with the rest of his experience by defusing those aspects that are specifically painful or frightening. He suggests that some perversions exist as an alternative to psychotic withdrawal. In postulating a developmental hierarchy for perversion formation and reality sense, he makes no specific reference to the degrees of self object differentiation existing at the time the ground work of the perversion was established.


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