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Spiegel, N.T. (1967). An Infantile Fetish and its Persistence Into Young Womanhood—Maturational Stages of a Fetish. Psychoanal. St. Child, 22:402-425.

(1967). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 22:402-425

An Infantile Fetish and its Persistence Into Young Womanhood—Maturational Stages of a Fetish

Nancy Tow Spiegel


A case illustrating the development of a fetishistic practice in a young woman has been presented. At an age of two and a half a string consoled the patient for object losses. In latency it became an apotropaic device, in adolescence a fetish. Idealized during late latency, it served in adolescence as a narcissistic defense to deny feelings of castration and to conceal masturbatory activity.

Following a gradual awareness of the ways in which the fetish limited and constricted her life, the fetish was gradually relinquished, as were obsessive rituals and fantasies attending its use. The result was an improvement of ego functions.

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