Tuesday, March 27, 2012

James Grotstein Introduces the Concept of Projective Transidentification

"I proffer the following statements:

(a) Intersubjective projective identification constitutes not only the operation of Klein's theory of projective identification as an unconscious, omnipotent, intrapsychic phantasy (occurring only within the unconscious of the projecting subject) but also two other process: (1) conscious and/or preconscious modes of sensorimotor induction and/or evocation or prompting techniques (mental, physical, verbal, posturing or priming, ‘nudging’) on the part of the projecting subject, followed by (2) spontaneous empathic simulation in the receptive object of the subject's experience who is already inherently equipped (programmed) to empathize with it. So far I am discussing projective identification in metapsychological theory. From the perspective of experience, however, the projecting subject feels that he has rid himself of bad (or good) emotional contents, and now believes that the object is the self or indistinguishable from it in regard to the projected parts—and, experientially, the object may concur that it has become affected.

(b) The projecting subject and the object of projection constitute two separate self-activating systems, and the interpersonal process should consequently be renamed ‘projective transidentification’ to designate its unique transpersonal mode so as to contrast it with the unconscious phantasy of intrapsychic projective identification proper.

(c) A corollary of the preceding view is that one can never project into another individual per se, only into one's image (internal object representation) of them— and then attempt to manipulate that image in unconscious phantasy as if it were the external object that was being manipulated. This idea is but another way of stating that the objects we encounter in our daily lives are fraught with personal transferences from our unconscious.

(d) Consequently, projective transidentification would function by establishing an inductive resonance between the internal object images formed by the projecting subject, on one hand, and those counterpart images formed by the external object of the subject, on the other.

(e) Projective identification into the object-image is followed by an introjection by the projecting subject of the now projectively transformed image of the object, which ultimately lands in the subject's superego and ego upon introjection. If hatred were projected, the subject would experience a hateful superego and a hated ego respectively.

(f) Projection from the Kleinian/Bionian points of view is inseparable from and identical with projective identification, but they are distinguished from each other in various different ways in the mainstream American view."
(pp. 1059-1060)


James Grotstein (2005). ‘Projective transidentification: An extension of the concept of projective identification’. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 86, pp. 1051-1069

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful selection of quotes!!
    A true master philosopher and mystic


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