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Book Cover
Author Silverberg, William V., author

Title Childhood Experience and Personal Destiny : a Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis / by William V. Silverberg
Published Berlin, Heidelberg : Springer Berlin Heidelberg : Imprint : Springer, 1952


Description 1 online resource
Summary "This account of the genesis of personality and neurosis represents a return to the crossroads at which Freud found himself when faced with the collapse of his traumatic theory of the etiology of neurosis: a return and affirmation that Freud was sound in his first intuition that neurosis emerges from traumatic childhood experience and its specific details. But Silverberg rejects as too narrow Freud's definition--that this traumatic experience is sexual seduction by an adult--and gives in this book a broader, more comprehensive definition of childhood experience and a new working hypothesis for psychotherapy. Strength and weakness of the ego are regarded by Silverberg as roughly equivalent to mental health and mental illness respectively. He is concerned with the kind of childhood experience that favors growth or diminution of this ego strength. He stresses the ego's functions and its mode of operation as well as interpersonal relationships and environmental factors of childhood experience. Specifically, the book is about the child growing up in our culture. The experiences of early life are discussed as children usually have them in the process of being brought up by parents of our culture. Although these successive areas of individual experience have not the universal and biologic significance which Freud ascribed to the genesis of libido, they parallel, more or less, the Freudian phases. Problems of deprivation in the oral area are followed by those of obedience, conformity, rebelliousness in the disciplinary area (Freud's anal phase) and by problems of comparison, competition, and genitality in the phallic area. For each area the author investigates the typical adaptations to the difficulties encountered by the child. He offers many keenly observed examples of solutions that are "normal" as well as pathologic in our culture. He brings out the vast difference and conflict between adaptations that are biologically successful or culturally successful. He shows that all experience of childhood involves parental love and approval, and that the child is as much concerned with maintaining these as with reaching pleasure goals. Since psychopathologic patterns are the result of experiences in the life history of the child and are therefore acquired, new experience can result in new and different psychologic patterns. A person can break his formed patterns of behavior by a process that leads to new self-understanding and from there to new adaptation. In this possibility lie the problem, the task, and the hope of psychotherapy"--Jacket. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
Subject Philosophy (General)
Developmental psychology.
Child psychology.
Neurotic Disorders -- etiology
Psychology, Child
Psychoanalytic Theory
Child Behavior
Child psychology.
Developmental psychology.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9783662399019