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On the Psychic Economy of Developmental Processes

Therese Benedek, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(3):271-276. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730270015004.
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I HAVE GIVEN my paper an abstract, generalizing title. Beginning with an evolution of concepts which originate in observation and experience, I hope to illustrate the assumption that the prerequisite of developmental processes is energy derived from transformations of primary narcissism through the reciprocal interactions of egoobject relationships.

I want to emphasize that development is a biological and psychological continuum. What begins at conception continues through childhood and adolescence, evolving further under the influence of the reproductive physiology and parenthood, utilizing the same primary mechanisms which operate from infancy on mental growth and development. I must add, however, that the concept of "normal development" implies more than psychosexual development toward and through parenthood. It includes that expansion of the personality which occurs through learning, taking this term in its widest application and in its psychologically deepest meaning; this includes work, achievement,


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