Thinking the Unthought

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Publication Date: 
Jul 2012

Some psychoanalytic researches are reviewed here to give an overview of how ideas on prenatal life and psychoanalytic ideas on ego-formation got tentatively together during the last century and the first years of the new century. There is a large bow to Ferenczi who published his long paper Thalassa in 1924 after about ten years of thoughts on it that were shared by Maiello, Hidas and Raffai, and Wilheim. Certainly this bow is incomplete. However, we can see how prenatal life becomes more relevant in psychoanalytic research, too.


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Bion, W., R. (1970). Attention and interpretation. London: Tavistock Publications [Reprinted New York: Seven Servanta (1977).
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Blazy, H. (2006). Dreizehn yahre nach Piontelli “From Fetus to Child.” (Thirteen years after Piontelli From fetus to child) International Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Medicine, 18(1-4), 92-103.
Caruso, I. (1973). Die Bedeutung des pränatalen seelenlebens für die persönlichkeitsentwicklung (The importance of prenatal life for personality development). In Graber, Kruse: Vorgeburtliches Seelenleben (Prenatal Mental Life). Goldmann Medizin Bd. 9038, 65-72.
Ferenczi, S. (1924) Versuch einer genitaltheorie (Attempt at a theory of genitality). In: Balint, M., (Ed) (1972). Schriften zur Psychoanalyse II (Writings on psychoanalysis II), 317-400. Frankfort: S. Fischer.
Ferenczi, S. (1929). Das unwillkommene lind und sein todestrieb (The unwelcome child and his death instinct). In Bausteine zur Psychoanalyse III (Blocks for psychoanalysis III) (1964), 446-452. Bern: Huber.
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Gidoni, E.A. (1985) Die continuität zwischen fetalen und postnatalen verhaltensmustern (The continuity between fetal and postnatal behaviour). In Milani Comparetti (Ed). Von der behandlung der krankheit zur sorge um hesundheit: Konzept einer am kind orientierten gesundheitsförderung (Of treating the disease of concern to health: On child-oriented concept of health promotion), 57-64.
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Hidas, G. & Raffai, J. (2006). Nabelschnur der seele (Umbilical cord of the soul). Frankfort: Psychosozial-Verlag.
Maiello, S. (2003) Die Bedeutung pränataler auditiver Wahrnehmung und Erinnrerung für die psychische Entwicklung.- eine psychoanalytische Pespektive (The importance of prenatal auditory perception for mental development: A psychoanalytic perspective). In Nöcker-Ribaupierre, M. (Ed), Hören – Brücke ins Leben (Listen – bridge to life). Gottengen: Van den Hoeck & Ruprecht.
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The Skin as a Psychic Organ: The Use of Infant Massage as a Psychotherapeutic Tool in Infant-Parent Psychotherapy

Price: $10.00
Publication Date: 
Dec 2007

This paper explores the use of touch, particularly infant-massage in infant-parent psychotherapy and the ways in which clinicians can utilize this intervention to strengthen infant-parent attachment. Touch as a taboo in psychotherapy, and the paradigmatic shifts that are occurring to allow for a reconsideration of the value of touch in psychotherapy is considered. Theories on touch and development from a depth-oriented perspective are presented, including related concepts such as: psychic skin, skin ego, and Winnicott?s holding environment or handling.


Anzieu, (1989). The skin ego (C. Turner, Trans.). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. (Original work published 1985)

Bass, A. (1992). Psychotic anxieties and containment: A personal account of an analysis with Winnicott by Margaret Little. Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(1) 117-132.

Beebe, B., Jaffee, J., & Lachmann, F. (1994). A dyadic systems view of communication. In N. Skolnick & S. Warshaw (Eds.), Relational perspectives in psychoanalysis, (pp. 6181). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.

Bick, E. (1968). The experience of the skin in early object-relations. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 49, 484-486.

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Davison, S. (1994). Baby observation: Emotional relationships during the first year of life. Journal of Pscyho-Analysis, 75, 643.

Dworsky, P. (2001). Losing touch: The implications of the repression of physical expression in western psychotherapeutic practice. Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpentaria, CA.

Feldman, B. (2004). A skin for the imaginai. Journal of Analytic Psychology, 49, 285-311.

Ferenczi, S. (1953). The theory and technique of psychoanalysis. New York: Basic Books.

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Field, T. (1995). Infant massage therapy. In T. M. Field (Ed.), Touch in early development (pp. 105-113). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

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Freud, S. (1940). An outline of psychoanalysis. New York: W.W. Norton.

Fosshage, J. (1994). Toward reconceptualizing transference: Theoretical and clinical considerations. Journal of Psychoanalysis., 75, 265-280.

Fosshage, J. (2000). The meanings of touch in psychoanalysis: A time for reassessment. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 20(1), 21-43.

Heart, J. (2003). Health visitor run baby massage classes: Investigating the effect. Health Visitor, 76 (4), 138-142.

Heffron, M. C. (2000). Clarifying concepts of infant mental health-promotion, relationship-based preventive intervention, and treatment. Infants and Young Children, 12(4), 14-21.

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Klein, M. (1930). The importance of symbolic formation in the development of the ego. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31, 724-739.

Little, M. (1990). Psychotic anxieties and containment. Northvale, NJ: Aronson.

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Mitchell, S. (1988). Relational concepts in psychoanalysis. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Montagu, A. (1971). Touching: The human significance of the skin. New York: Columbia University Press.

Rachman, A. (1989). Confusion of tongues: The Ferenczian metaphor for childhood seduction and emotional trauma. Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 17, 181-295.

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Winnicott, D. W. (1954-1955). The depressive position in normal emotional development. In Through pediatrics to psycho-analysis: Collected papers (pp. 262-277). New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Winnicott, D. W. (1957). The baby as a going concern. In The child and the family. London: Tavistock.

Winnicott, D. W. (1965a). Ego integration in child development. In The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. London: Hogarth.

Winnicott, D. W. (1965b). The theory of the parent-infant relationship, In The maturational processes and the facilitating environment. London: Hogarth.

Winnicott, D. W. (1966). Psychosomatic illness in its positive and negative aspects. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47, 510-15.

Winnicott , D. W. (1969). Physiotherapy and human relations. In C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd, & M. Davis, (Eds.), Psycho-analytic explorations (pp. 561-568). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Winnicott, D. W. (1986). The concept of a healthy individual, In C. Winnicott, R. Shepherd and M. Davis, (Eds.) Home is where we start from. London: Penguin.

Winnicott, D. W. (1989a). The importance of the setting in meeting regression in psychoanalysis. In Psycho-analytic explorations. London: Karnac Books.

Winnicott, D. W. (1989b). Psycho-somatic illness in its positive and negative aspects. In Psycho-analytic explorations. London: Karnac.

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