Firestone, R.W. (1990).The bipolar causality of regression. 
American Journal of Psychoanalysis
50(2), 121-135.

Regression may be precipitated by significant changes, both positive and negative, in an individual’s life. The author conceptualizes regression as the defense mechanism that is used to heal the fracture in the original bond with the mother caused by events, symbolic or real, that remind one of being separate and vulnerable to death. Guilt reactions, separation anxiety, and fear of death are increased by negative events such as illness, financial loss, failure, rejection, or death of a loved one. Regression may be activated as well by any significant positive experience or unusual achievement indicative of strength, independence, or personal power, that challenges an individual’s image of him/herself in the family. The paper delineates five stages of progressive retreat that characterize regressive episodes catalyzed by an atypical success or accomplishment.

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