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The Life Cycle (Without Regression)
The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child  (IF0.089),  Pub Date : 2019-01-01, DOI: 10.1080/00797308.2019.1558624
Gregory S. Rizzolo

ABSTRACT Freud argued that the dreamer and, by extension, the neurotic adult regresses from the realities of the chronological present to the still conflictual strivings and anxieties of childhood. These strivings and anxieties were thought to operate, largely unchanged, in the timeless unconscious. There they awaited activation by day-residue filtering down from the adult present. Many theorists—even those who departed significantly from Freud—endorsed this premise. A recent critique has emerged, however, to challenge the reduction of adult suffering to the mere revival of childhood problems. This paper articulates and extends the critique to envision a life-span trajectory in which the subject cannot regress, but can only move forward through the reiteration of old problems in new contexts that give rise to novel mental configurations. The implication is that a complete analysis must go beyond childhood to recognize the emergent potentials—and the dangers—that reshape the contours of adult mental life. The case of a thwarted male artist in his thirties illustrates the clinical importance of this revision.