chapter
5 Pages

Introduction

ByHenri Parens, Leon J. Saul

The clinician constantly encounters problems arising from insufficiently-resolved conflicts which have at their core a nucleus of unyielding dependence. Excessive dependence is of central significance in the “oral-dependent” character and the chemically-addicted. In addition, even clinically, the area of the influence of dependence is greater than is generally recognized. Perhaps because dependence is associated with the state of helplessness characteristic of infancy and childhood, its appearance in adults is often regarded as pathological. Children are often prematurely pushed toward independence, and conflicts arising from excessive frustration of dependent needs may be disregarded. W. R. D. Fairbairn and D. W. Winnicott have each stated that a psychoanalytic developmental psychology must take into account the fact of the child’s dependence. Fairbairn emphasized the centrality of dependence in the development of psychic functioning, of object relations, and in libido theory.