The Replacement Child Feels Guilty and Yet it is Innocent

Mathias Hirsch, well-known Psychoanalyst from Germany and acclaimed author and a specialist on questions of feelings of guilt and culpability, has kindly offered his article Psychodynamics and the fateful identity of the replacement child to the replacementchildforum.com. This is an amended and translated version of a chapter from: Hirsch, M.: Schuld und Schuldgefühl – Psychoanalyse von Trauma und Introjekt. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1997.

Mathjias Hirsch

Hirsch points out that parents need to sufficiently mourn over the loss of a child/other member of the family so as to not use a replacement child to cut short the grieving process. The replacement child receives what is called in psychoanalysis an introject, a feeling or representation that is put into it, unconsciously, and with which it identifies, also unconsciously; the replacement child feels often guilty, yet it is innocent.

We are very grateful that we can make available to our community the work of these three experts, A.C. and B.S. Cain (On Replacing a Child, 1964), Andrea Sabbadini (The Replacement Wife) and Mathias Hirsch (Psychodynamics and the fateful identity), under: Resources, Articles and Links.

And the replacementchildforum.com invites authors, practitioners and researchers to share their work with us.

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