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Ikonen, P. Rechardt, E. (1981). Primal Scene Fantasies and Cathexis of Self as Reflected in the Psychoanalytic Situation. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 4(1):75-93.

(1981). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 4(1):75-93

Primal Scene Fantasies and Cathexis of Self as Reflected in the Psychoanalytic Situation

Pentti Ikonen, Phil. Mag. and Eero Rechardt, M.D.

Ever since S. Freud in his famous case history, “From the History of an infantile Neurosis”, indicated that the psychopathology of the “Wolfman” had its foundation in the primal scene exposure, primal scene fantasies and the pathogenic effect of primal scene exposure have been of great interest among psychoanalysts. From Freud's time, the primal scene has been treated in the literature as a childhood fantasy or a traumatic childhood experience having far-reaching repercussions and hazardous influence on later psychopathological development. Research has sought for answers to the questions: Is primal scene exposure universally pathogenic? Does it lead to a typical kind of pathology? What kinds of primal scene exposure are to be found in different cultures, and does it explain the pathologic development in all cultures? (Blum, 1979, Myers, 1979). Analogous questions regarding the primal scene fantasies of childhood can of course be raised.

Our approach to the question is indeed different. It is a well-known fact that primal scene fantasies do not necessarily require primal scene exposure in order to arise. Instead of the predominantly genetic views, we want to look at the primal scene phantasies with the perspective in mind that they are the strivings of the child, and later on of the adult, to give a form to sexual and narcissistic libido. They are greatly reflective of the necessity of man to give form to his drives under given external conditions. From this viewpoint, primal scene fantasies reflect a person's unconscious way of dealing with his libido throughout life. Of course, their content and development are also enmeshed in the psychoanalytic process. Primal scene fantasies are thus a part of the results of the psychic work that everyone has to carry out with his own sexuality.


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