The 'autistic' level of the Oedipus complex

Rhode, Maria (2011) The 'autistic' level of the Oedipus complex. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 25 (3). pp. 262-276. ISSN 0266-8734

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In this paper, the author describes some of the tripartite constellations occurring in the material of children on the autistic spectrum. These could be thought of as constituting a primitive, ‘autistic’ level of the Oedipus complex where the fundamental anxieties are existential ones. It is suggested that these fears of annihilation are experienced on a bodily level, and that this physical aspect appears to be a distinguishing feature of the experience of the Oedipal constellation in children with autism. The clinical illustrations concern the experience of bodily mutilation within the feeding relationship; Oedipal aspects of sense perception; the nature of the link between masculine and feminine elements making up the psychic skin; and the balance between the child, the mother, and the mother' internal figures. Some implications for cognitive development are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Autism, Autistic, Primitive Oedipus Complex, Annihilation Anxiety, Sense Perception, Psychic Skin
Subjects: Communication (incl. disorders of) > Autism
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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