Learning to Delay Satisfaction

  • Hildegard E. Peplau


In nursing situations it is not always possible to grant patients full expression of all their wants or wishes and still meet the requirements of a treatment plan outlined by a professional team. It is often necessary to aid the patient in delaying his expected satisfactions, in varying his goals in the light of the reality of his medical problem. In order to know how patients can best be aided to learn to delay satisfaction of their wants, and to correlate this learning with the first psychological task, namely, learning to count on others for help when it is needed, as discussed in Chapter Eight, it is necessary to look at the period of personality formation most closely connected with the original learning of delay. The purpose of this chapter is to identify relationships between early childhood experiences with toilet training and personality formation and between cultural ways of interfering with wishes and wants and the carry-over in feelings that often operates in a medical problem. When nurses are faced with the task of helping a patient to delay his wants and wishes, and feelings of satisfaction connected with them, they need to understand these relationships to practice nursing intelligently.


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  1. 2.
    See also: Spöck and Huschka, op. cit. H. S. Sullivan, The Meaning of Anxiety in Psychiatry and in Life (Washington, D.C., William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation), pamphlet, pp. 11–12.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    See also: Max Levin, “Delay (Pavlov) in Human Physiology,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 102, No. 4 (January, 1946), p. 483. A discussion of physiological aspects of delay. Mabel Huschka, “The child’s response to coercive bowel training,” Psychosomatic Medicine, 4:301–308 (1942).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 4.
    For full discussion see: Patrick Mullahy, Oedipus: Myth and Complex (New York, Hermitage House, Inc., 1948), pp. 261–62. Also: Erich Fromm, Man for Himself (New York, Farrar and Rinehart, Inc., 1949).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Karen Homey, New Ways in Psychoanalysis (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1939), p. 74.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    William A. White, Twentieth Century Psychiatry (New York, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1936), p. 137.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Hildegard E. Peplau 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hildegard E. Peplau
    • 1
  1. 1.Rutgers, The State University of New JerseyUSA

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