Thursday, December 29, 2011

Baby-gorilla, held in his father's arms, stares open-mouthed at me as I towel my wet hair. Something looks different to him; something has struck him. His wide eyes slowly wander over my face with a complex expression: his eyes are soft yet glued to my face, his expression a few shades gentler than shock. He is absorbing something, but what? The steam clouds the air around us; his hair and skin are damp. He has seen me like this before. A smile plays over his face, he comes close to me, but not just to jump into my arms; he needs to continue looking into my face, his eyes luminous with something new (in me? in him?) before he rests his wet face on my shoulder and relaxes into my body, his nose finally running clear.

"How does a child develop into a person who, as a parent, is able to recognize her or his own child? What are the internal processes, the psychic landmarks, of such development? Where is the theory that tracks the development of the child's responsiveness, empathy, and concern, and not just the parent's sufficiency or failure?"

Benjamin, Jessica. "An Outline of Intersubjactivity: The Development of Recognition."
New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 1990, 7 (Suppl.), 33-46

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