The psychoanalytic concept of childhood determinism is an idea that has strongly influenced psychology as well as other social sciences. But this position about the nature-nurture problem is not consistent with the interactive view of modern psychological science. Psychoanalysis could benefit from adhering to a biopsychosocial model in which the interactions of genes and environment are central.

Examples will be given in which childhood determinism was applied in unfortunate ways. An example is the theory that autism is due to “refrigerator mothers”, as well as the theory that psychosis is due to “schizophrenogenic” mothering. The priority given to nurture over nature was also a factor in the scandal that emerged over “recovered memories” of trauma in psychotherapy patients.