978-0-465-06659-9 / 9780465066599

The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant: Symbiosis and Individuation


Publisher:Basic Books



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About the book:

Margaret S. Mahler and her collaborators break new ground in developmental psychology and present the first complete theoretical statement of Dr. Mahlers observations on the normal separation-individuation process.Separation and individuation are presented in this major work as two complementary developments. Separation is described as the childs emergence from a symbiotic fusion with the mother, while individuation consists of those achievements marking the childs assumption of his own individual characteristics. Each of the subphases of separation-individuation is described in detail, supported by a wealth of clinical observations which trace the tasks confronting the infant and his mother as he progresses toward achieving his own individuality.A number of chapters are devoted to following five children epigenetically through their subphase development. A separate section describes the authors methodology, the importance of the research setting, and the effects of changes in the setting. The extensive appendices by Fred Pine discuss the uniqueness of the data-gathering techniques used by the authors. In addition, a useful glossary of concepts defines the new terms that Dr. Mahler has introduced.This book represents an important breakthrough in understanding the human infant and makes a unique contribution to the science of human behavior.

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