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Key Concepts

Après-coup, Descriptive and Après-coup, Dynamic

The infant is the baby of the past, observable in the development of an individual. The infantile, according to Freud, is the child within the adult, who can only be reached through a process of construction. The infant is subject to observation, but the infantile is the result of the analyst’s reconstruction in the process of après-coup.

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Bisexuality, Psychic

Perelberg believes that sexual identity is not reduced to the anatomical difference between the sexes, but is constructed as a psychic bisexuality that is inherent to all human beings.

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Core Phantasy in Violence, A

Psychoanalytic Understanding of Violence and Suicide (1999) was based on at least 10 years work with a group of young adults. Perelberg describes how, in the course of trying to understand and psychoanalytically treat a violent young man, she began to identify in his material a plot or narrative that expressed an unconscious phantasy, a personal myth—namely, that he was born of violent intercourse between his mother and himself; no father was involved in his conception.

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Countertransference: Full and Empty Spaces

The understanding of the analyst’s countertransference has progressively become a crucial tool in the technique of psychoanalysis, corresponding to the increase in the number of borderline patients who come for treatment. These patients suffer from a lack of capacity to mentalize and represent states of mind in themselves and others.

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Excess, Trauma and Helplessness

Excess—from the Latin excessus, from excedere ‘go out, surpass’—is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable”. The notion of an amount implies a quantitative factor not reducible to representation.

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Father,  Murdered  and Father, Dead

Perelberg has suggested that the distinction between the murdered father and the dead father is a tool for understanding different types of psychopathologies, myths, and literature. The former—the murdered father—is present within an anal-sadistic structure where the father has no symbolic place. 

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Father Is Being Beaten, A

Perelberg has suggested that this phantasy may frequently be found in the analysis of some male patients as an expression of the constitution of their sexual choice and masculine identification. It is a construction, a result of the vicissitudes of the transference arrived at through the analyst’s interpretations.

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Female Experience and the Maternal Body

Female Experience: Four British Women Analysts on Work with Women (1997, second edition 2008), co-edited with Joan Raphael Leff, examines the way in which women construct their identification with their mother’s sexuality and the relevance of the construction of inner space in the sequence of a woman’s development.

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