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Lecture Five: Stages of Development

Anna Freud Karnac Books ePub


Stages of development

I want to start again with some of the questions which have been sent up to me, because they always show us where we have not sufficiently gone over the ground. Most of the questions are very appropriate in an interesting way. They show up the places where, if this were not a course serving partly as an introduction and partly as a survey and summary of the subject matter, one would have to stop and give a separate course. They point to all the chapters that branch off from the main line of thought and which we have no time to discuss. But those of you who want to study the subject of psychoanalysis in detail will find that there are many places where you can stop and remain for a long time, by going to the literature and reading the books which treat the subject in detail.

There was one question which was very justified indeed. I made so much, the questioner says, of the stages of development of the sexual instinct, and I rather glossed over stages of development in the aggressive instinct (if. indeed, I talked about them at all). What about them? Are they comparable in intensity, in distinctness, in sequence, to those of sexuality? Well, one answer to that might be the following: the intensive study of the development of aggression began long after the study of the development of the sexual instinct—perhaps thirty years after it—and our knowledge has not yet reached the same level. This means we know very much less about the stages of development of aggression, or, rather, we tend to view them very much as intimately connected with the sexual levels of development. On each level of infantile sexual development the aggressive instinct appears in a different form, always closely linked with the sexual urges. We do not know whether it takes its cue from them, whether the level of sexuality reached colours the form taken by the aggressive urge or whether it is the other way round, with definite stages of aggression giving a particular character to the levels of sex development. It probably goes both ways, because (as I tried to show you last time) the two are very intimately linked, and in whatever the child does—whether it is an expression in the oral stage or in the anal phase or the phallic phase—we find aggression and sex linked together. We see this, for instance, in the sadism of the child, which is partly an expression of the aggressive instinct—especially in the anal phase—but which is above all an outlet for aggression. So this is a question which awaits detailed study.

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6. Perspectives on the recovered memories debate

Peter Fonagy Karnac Books ePub

Peter Fonagy and Mary Target

The last four years have seen a unique controversy between senior academics and mental health professionals. It concerns the validity of adults’ forgotten, but subsequently recovered, memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). On one side of this debate are clinicians and survivors (e.g. Freyd, 1993), who maintain that most such memories are historically accurate. On the other side of the “battlefield” are experimental psychologists (e.g. Loftus, 1993), people who have apparently been falsely accused of abuse (Doe, 1991), and so-called recanters (e.g. Pasley, 1994), all of whom regard recovered memories as principally introduced by suggestion, usually from over-eager psychotherapists. The former group tend to talk of “survivors”, the latter of people suffering from “false memory syndrome”. Both terms are highly emotive, which is hardly surprising given that the group designated tends to consist of individuals, usually women, who have entered therapy with relatively severe psychological conditions, such as chronic eating disorder, severe depression, personality disorders, and suicidal tendencies. There is a real danger that in the effort, by both sides, to establish the validity of their position, it is the individuals with these serious problems who are having to pay the price. It is a concern about this possibility that prompted the undertaking of this review.

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8. The Freudian left and the theory of cultural revolution

Joseph Sandler Karnac Books ePub

Christopher Lasch

Both the strengths of the new left’s critique of domination and its underlying weaknesses reveal themselves, with particular sharpness and clarity, in the attraction of the new left to an intellectual tradition seemingly resistant to radical reinterpretation, yet essential, it turned out, to the new theory of revolution—the theory of cultural revolution—that haunted the imagination of the 1960s.

What brought about this improbable alliance of psychoanalysis and cultural radicalism, of Freud and Marx? We seem to have here a remarkable instance of the attraction of opposites. Freud puts more stress on human limitations than on human potential; he has no faith in social progress; and he insists that civilization is founded on repression. There isn’t much here, at first glance, that would commend itself to reformers or revolutionaries—and, in the last analysis, the theorists of the Freudian left in one way or another have had to get around or explain away the deterministic, tragic side of Freud’s thought, which has more in common with St. Augustine and Calvin than with Marx. Why then did the left bother with psychoanalysis in the first place?

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1. Memories of abuse, or abuse of memories?

Peter Fonagy Karnac Books ePub

Lawrence Weiskrantz

The topic of recovered memories of abuse is of considerable social importance, and of personal concern—indeed of grief—to many individuals. But perhaps I should first say what I consider that this discussion is not about.

There are many interesting issues about which it is not. It is not about whether sexual abuse occurs: it does, and the consequences can be dire. Estimates of how frequently it occurs in our society might be relevant for judging base rates, but I shall not deal with such estimates, nor with the very difficult and fuzzy question of definition. It is not about whether satanic ritual abuse occurs. No one has yet provided any convincing and concrete confirmative evidence, here or in America, that it does in detectable frequency (viz. the report by Lanning, 1992, in the United States and by La Fontaine, 1994, in the United Kingdom). But no one can prove the universal negative—that is, prove that it never does occur nor has occurred. Exhortation that it might occur does not get us very far. Nor, equally, can one prove the universal negative about abuse by alien visitors from outer space, nor of the recovery of memories of earlier lives. Nor is my talk about the sincerity or otherwise of beliefs of therapists, although Yapko’s (1993) findings that 28% of a large population of graduate therapists in the United States believe that hypnosis can resurrect memories from past lives, and that 53% of them believe that it can retrieve memories going back to child-birth, are, to put it mildly, rather disturbing. We do not know the comparable figures for this country, and it was hoped that the British Psychological Society (BPS) would provide such evidence in its report (Morton et aL, 1995). (In fact, the published report does not pursue such points, and, alas, I found the report itself to be weakly complacent in its outlook and deeply unsatisfactory in its analysis: for a critique see Weiskrantz, 1995.)

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Part Two: Discussion of “Analysis Terminable and Interminable”

Joseph Sandler Karnac Books ePub

A New Look at Freud's “Analysis Terminable and Interminable”


It would be difficult to imagine a psychoanalytic experience more stimulating or thought-provoking than rereading Freud's “Analysis Terminable and Interminable” and examining from our current perspective the many important issues it raises. The questions Freud posed then are fundamental to controversies in psychoanalysis to this very day. Some of the answers he proposed seem outdated and patently incorrect, while others are penetratingly perceptive, anticipating major lines of development for psychoanalytic technique.

It should be recalled that, only a few years before he wrote this paper, Freud had revised his concept of the psychic apparatus in a radical way. He had ceased trying to understand mental phenomena from a predominantly topographic point of view in favor of a structural approach, an approach which emphasized the interplay of persistent, organized forces in the mind. Whereas the topographic model stressed the pathogenic significance of what was repressed into the system Ucs, the structural model stressed the role of intrapsychic conflict and compromise formation. Obviously, it was not easy for Freud, at the end of his days, to make a clean and decisive break with a model of conceptualization which for so many years he had found so fruitful. In The Ego and the Id (1923), for example, he stated that henceforth he would be using the terms conscious and unconscious in a purely descriptive, rather than systematic, way. Nevertheless, in An Outline of Psychoanalysis (1940), he reverted to discussions of the characteristics of the systems Ucs, Pcs, and Pcpt-Cs. On reexamining “Analysis Terminable and Interminable.” it is both interesting and instructive to observe how concepts from the two different frames of reference are used side by side, sometimes in a contradictory fashion.

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