Fear and loathing, love and othering: the legacy of early Oedipal struggles as manifest in racialised dynamics in the consulting room

De Rementeria, Alexandra (2024) Fear and loathing, love and othering: the legacy of early Oedipal struggles as manifest in racialised dynamics in the consulting room. Journal of Child Psychotherapy . ISSN Print 0075-417X; Online 1469-9370

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Abstract

This paper takes as its premise the idea that transferential phenomena emerge out of the endless interactions between the wider social context, including myriad social injustices, and the inter and intra psychic events psychoanalytic therapists are more familiar with thinking about. Freud’s was a neuro-psycho-social model of development, with the interrelationship between internal life and social practices carefully mapped in ‘Totem and Taboo’ (1913) and ‘Civilisation and Its Discontents’ (S. Freud, 1930). However, what Freud left undone, and is still only nascent in its development, is the work of mapping how this interaction between internal and external, between psycho and social, manifests in the consulting room. Focusing on race, as one aspect of identity that powerfully impacts transferential phenomena, the paper presents accounts of clinical events, one disguised, one fictionalised, to explore the meaning of the author’s own Whiteness in this context. Using a Kleinian and post-Kleinian understanding of very early Oedipal struggles, ‘Whiteness’ is formulated as an anti-developmental merger with the ideal breast.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Received 02 Nov 2023, Accepted 28 Jan 2024, Published online: 28 Feb 2024
Uncontrolled Keywords: Child psychotherapy, racism, Whiteness, early Oedipal struggles, othering
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Psychotherapy
Race and Culture > Culture and Psychotherapy
Race and Culture > Race- Sociology
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2884

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