Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Margaret Mahler

What is the egg metaphor?

Mahler liked to use the image of the egg to describe the child’s development during these first two stages. In the normal autistic phase, children live as if inside their own egg. The eggshell is a barrier between the baby and the outside world. In the symbiotic phase, the egg extends to include the mother as well as the baby. The child’s entire world includes only the mother and the self.


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