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Levy, K. (1960). Simultaneous Analysis of a Mother and her Adolescent Daughter—The Mother's Contribution to the Loosening of the Infantile Object Tie. Psychoanal. St. Child, 15:378-391.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 15:378-391

Simultaneous Analysis of a Mother and her Adolescent Daughter—The Mother's Contribution to the Loosening of the Infantile Object Tie

Kata Levy


Anna Freud in her paper on "Adolescence" (1958) distinguished between children who, in an adolescent upset, aim at freeing themselves from their early objects and family ties, and those others without an adolescent upheaval who remain "good" children

"wrapped up in their family relationships." She found the determining factor in the latter's ego and superego formation and in excessive defenses.

In Debby we found an adolescent with all the upheavals characteristic of her age group and with—strangely—no urge to detach herself from her parents and her home.

We wanted to find out what part her mother had played in forming and keeping up this relationship. We could understand Debby's peculiarities better by viewing the mother's difficulties: her anxious uncertainty in rearing a child; her making the relationship to Debby an exclusively body-related and sadomasochistic one; her excessive guilt feelings which inhibited her capacity to stand firm against her daughter's unreasonable demands and which prevented her from loosening her own tie to her daughter. In how far Debby's need for protection against inherent driving forces of a constitutional nature play a part in her clinging to her calm and controlled mother, cannot be clarified with certainty.

A true understanding of the main difficulties could be reached only by coordinating the vicissitudes of the oedipal conflicts of both mother and child, and their effect on each other.

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