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Sprince, M.P. (1962). The Development of a Preoedipal Partnership Between an Adolescent Girl and her Mother. Psychoanal. St. Child, 17:418-450.

(1962). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 17:418-450

The Development of a Preoedipal Partnership Between an Adolescent Girl and her Mother

Marjorie P. Sprince

Anna Freud has described the value of simultaneous analysis of mother and child, both from the point of view of therapy and for research purposes. As a therapeutic tool it has become the method of choice for those carefully selected cases of children whose forward moves on the developmental scale have been held back because of unconscious interplay between themselves and one of their parents. In the cases reported so far, the parent concerned has been the mother, although in many cases and certainly in the case reported here, there is evidence of more than a compliant attitude on the part of the father.

Debby was twelve and a half years of age when she started her analysis. During the first two years of treatment her extreme tendency to regress because of the intensity of her preoedipal fixations was noted. It seemed likely that there was a connection between this fact and the partnership which appeared to exist between mother and child and from which neither could extricate herself. Therapeutic insight in the child alone could not, it seemed, counteract the pull exerted by this partnership.

When Debby was just under fifteen years of age the mother accepted treatment for herself.

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