Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hans Loewald on Regression

"Considering regression from the standpoint of internal communication within a continuum of irrational and rational modes and contents of mentation, a continuum of structures or systems, has the advantage that here the organization and functioning of the adult mind is in view. We are thus able to appreciate that regression, seen in this light, is not in and by itself pathological, but a phase in the motions and transformations of psychic life.

With patients whom we describe as regressed, the flux and rhythm, the balance of phases, the communications between rational and irrational phases, are disordered in a regressive direction. We are trying to understand, in each case or group of cases, what in the history and current situation of the individual may have determined or contributed to the predominance of regression and regressive states. But we will be ill-equipped to be of help to the patient if we see regression as nothing but the return to an alien, archaic, infantile stage of development which we, the therapists, have long since left behind. I am not saying that there is nothing infantile or archaic here. My point is that infantile-archaic stages find psychic permanence in the structuring of the mind, whether we are regressed patients or healthy, mature adults; and that the relative freedom, balance, and mastery of communications between the structures of the mind are the essential factors that count.
" (pp. 38-39)

Loewald, Hans (1981). Regression: Some General Considerations. Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. 50, pp. 22-43

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