I is for Innocence


The psychoanalytic tradition is broadly divided between those (like Fairbairn and Winnicott) who saw the child as initially innocent, but liable to lose its innocence under the impact of stress or psychological trauma; and those (like Freud and Klein) who see the child as developing innocence – maturing into it – as a result of surmounting the Oedipus complex and/or the depressive position.[7]

More eclectically, Eric Berne saw the Child ego state, and its vocabulary, as reflecting three different possibilities: the cliches of conformity; the obscenities of revolt; and “the sweet phrases of charming innocence”.[8] In a rather different formulation, Christopher Bollas used the term ‘Violent Innocence’ to describe a fixed and obdurate refusal to acknowledge the existence of an alternative viewpoint[9] – something akin to what he calls “the fascist construction, the outcome is to empty the mind of all opposition”.[10]





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