Some suggested revisions concerning early female development

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York 10028.
Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association (Impact Factor: 0.79). 02/1976; 24(5 Suppl):29-57.
Source: PubMed


In our view, Freud's original position that sexual drive organization exerts a special and exemplary role during the various psychosexual stages remains a valid one, although drive organization is in turn consistently and extensively influenced by events in the sphere of object relations. Very early genital-zone experiences during the first sixteen months of life contribute to a vague sense of sexual identity, and undoubtedly exert an influence over many ego functions. Some genital sensations probably occur consistently in conjunction with feeding, as well as during many other interactions of the mother and her young infant. With ongoing separation and individuation, the genital zone emerges as a distinct and differentiated source of endogenous pleasure somewhere between sixteen and nineteen months of age, exerting a new and crucial influence upon the sense of sexual identity, object relations, basic mood, and many aspects of ego functioning, such as the elaboration of fantasy and graphic representation in girls and the increased use of the motor apparatus in boys-the latter probably in the service of denial. This era constitutes an early genital phase, preceding that of the oedipal period, and the later oedipal constellation will inevitably be shaped by the preoedipal developments we have described. The discovery of the sexual difference and the new genital sensations of this early genital phase should not be considered merely as several of many variables that influence the growing sense of identity; they are unique, exemplary, and of equal importance to the oral and anal aspects of psychosexual development which have preceded them. Furthermore, the preoedipal castration reaction rapidly reactivates and becomes fused with earlier fears of both object and anal loss, and is therefore particularly threatening to the child's still unstable sense of self and object. In other publications, we have presented data from direct observational research indicating that the little girl's early relation with her mother, as well as her early bodily experiences, are important in determining the effect upon her when she discovers the sexual anatomical difference at about sixteen to eighteen months of age. At this juncture, depending upon the nature of her earlier experiences, as well as the availability of the father, she may either turn more definitively to the father, or she may remain even more ambivalently attached to the mother, a choice having fateful consequences for the oedipal constellation shortly to emerge.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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    • "Fast, 1996). Gender awareness evolves as part of this development in the second year of life (Galenson and Roiphe, 1977). The child comprehends that there are two different gender categories. "
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    ABSTRACT: The development of a male gender identity involves the task of relinquishing the identification with the female primary object. If this separation is experienced as loss or expulsion, and responded to by the development and libidinous cathexis of phallic-narcissistic characteristics, a specifically male narcissistic vulnerability emerges, which can, particularly in ageing men, escalate to critical proportions. However, phallic-narcissistic crises in the ageing process also contain opportunities for development, provided the losses of age can be faced with mourning. The author sets out the statements on the subject of old age in the myth of Narcissus and makes use of the concepts of developmental psychology. He outlines clinical examples illustrating this problem. Finally, he brings to mind the narcissistic plight of the aged Oedipus.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2008 · The International Journal of Psychoanalysis
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    • "According to psychoanalytic and developmental theories, the primary task of late adolescence is identity consolidation with increasing independence from parents (Blos, 1962, 1979; Deutsch, 1944, 1973; Erikson, 1968; Freud, 1905/1953; Galenson & Roiphe, 1976; Ritvo, 1976). Deutsch and Blos are prominent among those who describe adolescence in terms of a " loosening of affectionate ties, " " emotional disengagement, " and " severing " of family bonds. "
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    ABSTRACT: Externalizing and internalizing problems as measured on the Youth Self Report (YSR; Achenbach, 1991a) among early adolescent boys and girls were related to the conceptual level (CL; Blatt, Chevron, Quinlan, Schaffer, & Wein, 1988) with which children described their mothers and fathers. Scoring of these descriptions using the Children's version (CORI; Waniel, Besser, & Priel, 2006) of the Object Relations Inventory (ORI; Blatt et al., 1988) indicated that higher CL in descriptions of mother than of father was significantly related to the intensity of externalizing problem behaviors in boys. Conversely, higher CL in descriptions of father than of mother was significantly related to the intensity of internalizing problems in girls. These results are discussed in terms of the process of identity consolidation and its relationship to the emergence of problem behaviors in early adolescence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · Psychoanalytic Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Contemporary psychoanalytic theorists have significantly altered formerly accepted hypotheses regarding female psychosexual development. They emphasize the very early roots of femininity, with the girl viewed as entering a phase of genital development out of a matrix of pre-existing sources and awarenesses of her femininity. When discussing early origins of female development, contemporary investigators stress multiple determinants such as cognitive, psycho-physiological and identificatory processes. Thus, Stoller (1976) concludes that sex assignment at birth initiates a process of core gender identification which is probably irreversible by the age of eighteen months and Kleeman (1976) emphasizes the primary, organizing effect of the child’s early linguistic ability to label herself a girl. Both theorists, plus other observers (Blum, 1976; Kestenberg, 1975; Parens et al., 1976), also consider that parental attitudes, bodily sensations and identifications with the child-bearing mother contribute to a very early feminine self-representation.
    No preview · Chapter · Jan 1982
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