Pre-Oedipal and Oedipal Development

Integrated Child & Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (ICAPP)
2020-21, 2nd Block — Mondays, 8:00-9:15pm
Kelly Shanks Lippman, LMHC


As children move from infancy to latency/pre-adolescence multiple intersecting aspects of development occur—intense emotional experience of transformation in object relating, accommodation to reality (and associated mourning), capacity for ambivalence and greater affect tolerance (love, hate, rivalry), capacity for imaginary play and symbolic thought, mentalization (theory of mind), identification with aspects of both parents and the parental couple, core gender identity, racial/ethnic identity and the formation and consolidation of the superego and ego ideal. The implications of this early period of development truly reverberate throughout the lifespan.

We will explore early and contemporary ideas and theories as well as several papers that focus on clinical vignettes. In our last class we will consider how young children experience immigration, focusing specifically on forced/emergent migration which results in family separation and other forms of complex trauma. Throughout the class, I encourage you to bring in clinical examples from your own work to further our discussion. I welcome your feedback on the course and the readings as we proceed.

November 16, 2020 — Toddlerhood, Oedipal Development and the beginnings of Triadic Relations

(I recommend reading Gilmore and Meersand first and then Britton).

Gilmore, K. and Meersand, P. (2015) Ch. 4, “The Oedipal Phase and the Oedipal Complex: Developmental Advances and Theoretical Considerations” in The Little Book of Child and Adolescent Development, pp71-100.

Britton, R. (1992). The Oedipus Situation and the Depressive Position. New Library of Psychoanalysis, 14:34-45.

November 23, 2020 — Aggression and Mentalization

Olesker, W. (2012). Aggression and Impulse Control in the Analysis of a Young Boy. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 66:81-108.

Stop reading at the end of page 98.

Fonagy, P. (1995). Playing with reality: The development of psychic reality and its malfunction in borderline personalities. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 76:39-44.

November 30, 2020 — Superego and the Ego Ideal

Tyson, P; Tyson, R. (1990). Development of the Superego. In Psychoanalytic Theories of Development: An Integration, (207-227). New Haven: Ct. Yale University Press.

December 7, 2020 — Shame

Schore, A. (2003). Early Superego Development: The Emergence of Shame and Narcissistic Affect Regulation in the Practicing Period, in Affect Regulation and the Repair of the Self, pp151-186

December 14, 2020 — Gender Identity

(If you only have time to read one article, read Benjamin).

Benjamin, J. (1995). Sameness and Difference: Toward an “Overinclusive” Model of Gender Development. Psychoanal. Inq., 15(1):125-142.

Ehrensaft, D. (2018). “What’s your gender?”, In: C. Bonovitz and A. Harlem (Eds.), Developmental Perspectives in Child Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, pp241-262

December 21, 2020 — Oedipal Dynamics in Adoption

Edwards, J. (2000). On being dropped and picked up: Adopted children and their internal objects. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 26(3):349-367.

January 4, 2021 — Divorce and Domestic Violence

Lament, C. (2019). The impact of divorce on children: The view from the perch of adulthood. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 72(1):16-23.

McIntosh, J.E. (2002) Thought in the face of violence: a child’s need. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26:229-241.

January 11, 2021 — Early Childhood Trauma related to Forced Migration

Clauss-Ehlers, C. (2019). Forced migration among Latinx children and their families: Introducing trilateral migration trauma as a concept to reflect a forced migratory experience. Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, 18(4):330-342.

Tummala-Narra, P. (2020) A Discussion of “Going to Where the World Ends: When the Bodies of Children Speak Who is Listening?” Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 30(2):193-201

The Editors (2019, July 18). Hear the Words of Detained Migrant Children, The New York Times. Retrieved from

New York children read the words of their peers held in U.S. Border Patrol facilities. (3:29 minutes)

Optional Reading

The Orfanos article and video are related.