The Dead Mother: The Work of Andre Green (The New Library of Psychoanalysis)

The Dead Mother: The Work of Andre Green (The New Library of Psychoanalysis)

The Dead Mother: The Work of Andre Green (The New Library of Psychoanalysis)

The Dead Mother brings together original essays in honour of André Green. Written by distinguished psychoanalysts, the collection develops the theme of his most famous paper of the same title, and describes the value of the dead mother to other areas of clinical interest: psychic reality, borderline phenomena, passions and identification.

The concept of the ‘dead mother’ describes a clinical phenomenon, sometimes difficult to identify, but always present in a substantial number of patients. It describes a process by which the image of a living and loving mother is transformed into a distant figure; a toneless, practically inanimate, dead parent. In reality, the mother remains alive, but she has psychically ‘died’ for the child.

This produces a depression in the child, who carries these feelings within him into adult life, as the experience of the loss of the mother’s love is followed by the loss of meaning in life. Nothing makes sense any more for the child, but life seems to continue under the appearance of normality.

The Dead Mother is a valuable contribution to literature on psychoanalytic and psychotheraputic approaches to grief, loss and depression.

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1 Comment so far »

  1. nellie dean "psychic GP" said,

    Wrote on March 7, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    21 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Dead Mother redux, March 12, 2007

    This review is from: The Dead Mother: The Work of Andre Green (The New Library of Psychoanalysis) (Paperback)

    Have you ever had the feeling that somehere in your home you still had an an unfinished cup of coffee ? It is present as an absence. I used to get that feeling so often after certain patients had left. They were not psychotic. Still, I could not shake off that same unfinished coffee somewhere .Perplexing when you have just seen a verbal and pleasant and sometimes very highly functioning patient.

    The Dead Mother is so often behind those veils, and mirrors, and somehow empty cheer.

    Thanks to this book, I no longer just FEEL the dead emptiness behind this silent fault in the earth around a patiently waiting human being. Like an experienced geologist “feels” the basic fault in the rock, I now consider

    the presence of this absence in a life.I never knew what I was still trying to make up for in a seemingly “healed” and now functioning patient who is always there, like those last drops in that lost cup.

    This was one of the most important and one of the most useful books I have read for my work. All clinicians should read this because I do not believe there are many who recognise the possibility of a sometime dead mother who is still alive, or a dead idealised mother who was perhaps dead when she was “alive”. Or perhaps they do, but like me, it didn’t click in. This is going to be endlessly fascinating for work. How I wish everyone could read it before they complacently close a file.

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