Research Repository

Regression and the Maternal in the History of Psychoanalysis, 1900-1957

Bar-Haim, S (2014) 'Regression and the Maternal in the History of Psychoanalysis, 1900-1957.' Psychoanalysis and History, 16 (1). pp. 69-94. ISSN 1460-8235

Regression and the maternal in the history of psychoanalysis, revised draft no track changes, 16.9.13.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (197kB) | Preview


This paper examines the history of the concept of ‘regression’ as it was perceived by Sandor Ferenczi and some of his followers in the first half of the twentieth century. The first part provides a short history of the notion of ‘regression’ from the late nineteenth century to Ferenczi's work in the 1920s and 1930s. The second and third parts of the paper focus on two other thinkers on regression, who worked in Britain, under the influence of the Ferenczian paradigm – the interwar Scottish psychiatrist, Ian D. Suttie; and the British-Hungarian psychoanalyst, and Ferenczi's most important pupil, Michael Balint. Rather than a descriptive term which comes to designate a pathological mental stage, Ferenczi understood ‘regression’ as a much more literal phenomenon. For him, the mental desire to go backwards in time is a universal one, and a consequence of an inevitable traumatic separation from the mother in early childhood, which has some deep personal and cultural implications. The paper aims to show some close affinities between the preoccupation of some psychoanalysts with ‘regression’, and the growing interest in social and cultural aspects of ‘motherhood’ and ‘the maternal role’ in mid-twentieth-century British society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: regression; the maternal; Sandor Ferenczi; Ian Suttie; Michael Balint; Thalassa
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2018 15:22
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:47

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item