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Nagera, H. (1964). On Arrest in Development, Fixation, and Regression. Psychoanal. St. Child, 19:222-239.

(1964). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 19:222-239

On Arrest in Development, Fixation, and Regression

Humberto Nagera, M.D.

While fixation and regression are essential concepts of psychoanalytic theory, especially the theory of the neurosis, they have not always been clearly separated in practice when one is confronted with actual clinical pictures. In this paper I shall try to demonstrate that it is frequently possible, at the diagnostic stage, to ascertain how much, in certain neurotic developments or disorders of children, is the result of regression and how much can be ascribed to fixation. I shall discuss some aspects of the clinical and prognostic value of this distinction; describe the different types of fixation and regression that can be observed (but only in so far as this is required by the central theme of this paper); and, finally, refer briefly to some of the clinical problems inherent in the effort to distinguish what, in the disorders of children, is due to fixation and what to regression.

A similar evaluation of the psychopathology in the adult is somewhat more complicated, though not impossible.

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