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Solnit, A.J. (2000). Recovery and Adaptation. Psychoanal. St. Child, 55:252-274.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 55:252-274

Recovery and Adaptation

Albert J. Solnit, M.D.


Recovery and Adaptation are Presented Somewhat Autobiographically in this paper, which utilizes personal observations, interventions, and psychoanalytic experiences in formulating a view of what works for the individual child and adult. The theoretical orientation reflects an attraction to Hartmann's ideas of autonomous ego functions, conflict-free capacities, and the liberating power of maturational and developmental forces (Hartmann, 1958). The momentum of these forces, libidinal and aggressive drive derivatives, is confronted by the regulatory and mediational compromises mobilized by ego and superego functions. In this frame of reference, developmental processes associated with adaptational defensive compromises are more or less costly in the patient's psychic economy, as can be observed in psychoanalytic treatment. As Anna Freud stated:

[c]onflicts in the human being and in the child are inevitable; they are expressions of the structure of the personality. Do not aim at having a child without conflict, do not aim to spare the child conflict. Equally, frustrations are inevitable. Wish fulfillment on demand does not lead to a development from the pleasure principle to the reality principle, something which distinguishes human beings from animals.

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