Cover image for The psychological birth of the human infant : symbiosis and individuation
The psychological birth of the human infant : symbiosis and individuation
Mahler, Margaret S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [1975]
Physical Description:
xii, 308 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Subject Term:
Format :

On Order



Margaret S. Mahler and her collaborators break new ground in developmental psychology and present the first complete theoretical statement of Dr. Mahler's 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 child's emergence from a symbiotic fusion with the mother, while individuation consists of those achievements marking the child's 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.

Table of Contents

Fred PineAnni Bergman
Prefacep. vii
Prefacep. xv
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
Introduction and Historical Reviewp. xxiii
Chapter 1 Overviewp. 3
Chapter 2 Evolution and Functioning of the Research Settingp. 17
Introductionp. 39
Chapter 3 the Forerunners of the Separation-Individuation Processp. 41
Chapter 4 the First Subphase: Differentiation and the Development of the Body Imagep. 52
Chapter 5 the Second Subphase: Practicingp. 65
Chapter 6 the Third Subphase: Rapprochementp. 76
Chapter 7 the Fourth Subphase: Consolidation of Individuality and the Beginnings of Emotional Object Constancyp. 109
Introductionp. 123
Chapter 8 Brucep. 124
Chapter 9 Donnap. 138
Chapter 10 Wendyp. 153
Chapter 11 Teddyp. 169
Chapter 12 Samp. 185
Chapter 13 Variations Within the Subphases with Special Reference to Differentiationp. 197
Chapter 14 the Epigenesis of Separation Anxiety, Basic Mood, and Primitive Identityp. 210
Chapter 15 Reflections on Core Identity and Self-Boundary Formationp. 220
Chapter 16 Some Concluding Remarks About the Significance of the Rapprochement Crisisp. 225
Appendix A the Available Datap. 233
Appendix B a Research Rationalep. 246
Appendix C Some Research Strategiesp. 252
Referencesp. 273
Permissionsp. 288
Glossary of Conceptsp. 289
Author Indexp. 294
Subject Indexp. 296
About the Authorp. 309