Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pier Claudio Devescovi on the Separation of Freud and Jung

Introduction: "The thesis I wish to uphold is that Jung, at the time of his first meeting with Freud, had already developed his own understanding of the Unconscious and of psychic functioning and had autonomously elaborated a method of his own.

His ideas and his method, with their deep-seated roots in humanistic culture, had taken shape during his years at the University of Basel (1895-1900). It was in his degree dissertation entitled ‘On the psychology and pathology of so-called occult phenomena’ (Jung 1902) that they were first presented in a more organic way.

I shall try to follow the formation of Jungian ideas using his university years' documents—some already published and others still in course of publication—so as to highlight the relevant historical coordinates and cultural influences. I believe that these elements played an important part in Jung's relations with Freud and in their separation. Beyond the many facets of this undoubtedly very complex relationship, the fact remains that the two men had incredibly different cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking. Independently from one another, they both constructed hypotheses on psychic functioning and on the aetiology of neurosis and elaborated a method for analysing the Unconscious."
(p. 277)

Conclusion: "I have tried to highlight the nucleus of Jung's initial ideas, tracing their origins and derivations. Jung's conceptions of mythology and religion, his historical perspective, his understanding of the Unconscious, of repression and of the aetiology of hysteria have roots in a cultural background and in a method very different from Freud's. The originality and independence of this set of ideas enable us to argue that Jung should not simply be considered as one of Freud's pupils and that the elements that I have described played an important role in the relationship, and in the eventual separation, between the two men.

During the years in which Freud and Jung worked together, the various aspects: political, transferential, professional, etc. evolved around this basic situation. Freud strongly believed that it was his destiny to be the founder of psychoanalysis, which meant he was entirely open to the prospect of having as his successor someone who would continue his work, but left no space for a plurality of fundamental ideas, nor for the possibility of a co-foundation. These were interpreted by Freud as a schismatic attitude on Jung's part and, as such, were received with bitterness and resentment. Over 80 years after that split, and in the light of the considerations which I have attempted to express, it seems to me that their relationship should be viewed, rather, as the ‘Chronicle of a Separation Foretold’. " (pp. 284-285)

Pier Claudio Devescovi (2000). At the Origins of Jungian Thought: Culture and Method. Elements of a Separation'. Psychoanalysis and History, Vol. 2, pp. 277-286

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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Marcus West on Jung's Perspectives on the Ego

Abstract: "This paper explores some aspects of the narrowness of Jung's usage of the term ego and the consequences which are understood to follow there from. Jung is understood to see the ego as a surface phenomenon and, essentially, as the focal point of consciousness, not recognizing its potential to function more broadly, deeply, and unconsciously. Furthermore, although he does recognize the ego as ‘the total conscious personality’ his use of the term frequently does not reflect that definition. Whilst Jung's analysis of the narrowly functioning ego is enlightening and groundbreaking, he treats this narrow functioning as if it is characteristic of the ego itself, ascribing any ‘broad functioning’ primarily to the Self. This narrow use of the term ego, and the corresponding use of the term Self, are understood to have significant consequences for clinical practice, including leading the analyst into an over-identification with the patient and a loss of the analyst's sense of self. It is also understood to lead to difficulties dealing with more disturbed individuals, to stuck and broken down analyses, to wear and tear on the analyst and, potentially, splits between the different schools of analytical psychology. These concerns all represent difficulties with working in the transference, and Jung's own experience of this is briefly explored."

Introduction: "The ego has something of a bad name within analytical psychology as, whilst Jung was adamant about its necessity (e.g., Jung 1916, paras. 181-188), even arguing for it as a requisite element of spiritual experience (e.g., Jung 1929, para. 506; Jung 1954c, para. 774 & Jung 1934/1954, para. 520), he also described it, variously, as ‘small’ and ‘feeble’ (Jung 1937, para. 145), ‘futile and ridiculous’ (Jung 1955, para. 284), and saw ‘mere ego-life’ as ‘inadequate and unsatisfactory’ (Jung 1926, para. 645), and ‘petty and oversensitive’ (Jung 1928, para. 275). This paper aims to demonstrate that Jung works from a very narrow and superficial model of the ego, often not even consistent with his own definition of it as the conscious personality (Jung 1951a, paras. 1 & 7), and that he wrongly takes this narrow definition as characteristic of the ego itself. The paper will further suggest that the ego can be seen to function more broadly, deeply and unconsciously than Jung supposes. This broadly functioning ego encompasses and reflects all elements of the personality, including coming to know that the ‘I’ is attendant upon an autonomous, unconsciously functioning core self experienced as other and ‘not-I'; in other words, ‘the "not-I" is also who I am'.

The second part of the paper suggests certain ramifications for the practice of analytical psychology which are understood to follow, potentially, from such a narrow definition; for example, clinical difficulties relating to an over-identification with the patient and a loss of sense of self (as my original title had it: ‘There you are, but where did I go?'); difficulties dealing with more disturbed individuals; stuck, broken down, and sometimes abusive analyses, and to wear and tear on the analyst. I will also be looking at the difficulties Jung experienced with certain of his patients in this light. I will suggest, speculatively, that this under-emphasis on the ego can be seen to be responsible for some of the splits in analytical psychology, for example between those who follow Jung's practice of seeing patients less frequently and those who work more intensively with patients.

All these are serious concerns, with serious consequences for both patient and analyst. This paper was first given at the IAAP Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, in August 2007. At that Congress there was a panel discussion exploring ‘Reactions to Jung’, where Rod Anderson reported the results of a questionnaire he had sent out to his fellow South African health professionals. The questionnaire revealed that people saw Jung as (amongst other things) turning too quickly to the unconscious, not sufficiently recognizing the ego as a developmental achievement, and that these issues led to clinical difficulties.

These criticisms closely echo my own experience and concerns. I feel that it is vitally important to address these shadow aspects of analytical psychology, of which even those relatively unstudied in the field are aware (it may be argued, of course, that their criticisms come precisely because they have not studied Jung in depth, but I do not think this is necessarily the case).

My reason for making this critique is not only to address these shadow aspects of analytical psychology, however, but also to better utilize and value Jung's crucial insights which are at the heart of his work, for example, specifically, his critique of the (narrowly functioning) ego, his understanding of the autonomy of the unconscious, and his valuing and ‘locating’ of spiritual experience. I suggest that the understanding of a broadly functioning ego can offer a potential resolution of some of these difficulties
." (pp. 367-368)

Marcus West (2008). The Narrow use of the Term Ego in Analytical Psychology: The ‘Not-I’ is Also who I am. J. Anal. Psychol., 53:367-388

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charles Strozier on the Preeminent Position of Freud and Kohut in the Development of Psychoanalysis

Conclusion: "There are two foundational (as opposed to merely important) thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis: Sigmund Freud and Heinz Kohut. Between 1965 and 1981, Kohut’s paradigm shift freed psychoanalytic thinking from the drive model, but retained its multifaceted perspectives and located practice firmly in an empathic context. Contemporary models and orientations, some more creative than others, from intersubjectivity, to the Relationalists, the constructivists, the post-modernists, and so on, have sought to extend aspects of Kohut’s work in their own terms. Such extensions are entirely appropriate and commendable. All of these contemporary thinkers in psychoanalysis, however, are children of Kohut. While Freud created the core ideas of psychoanalysis and its first form of practice, the shift in perspective brought by Kohut energizes in new ways a very relevant tradition that begins with William James, runs through Pierre Janet, finds expression in some of late Ferenczi and aspects of Carl Jung, and re-surfaces with thinkers like Donald Winnicott. For many years such thinking that is so relevant for understanding trauma and other issues ran like a submerged underground stream beneath the huge dyke of ego psychology. Kohut released the waters."

To read the remainder of the article "Robert Stolorow’s Myth of Originality" by Charles Strozier published on the International Psychoanalysis Blog at:
International Psychoanalysis

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Corbett and Kugler on the Interface Between C.G. Jung and Heinz Kohut

"The question of the relationship between the concepts of the self in the work of Jung and Kohut has been debated by various Jungian analysts (for example, Jacoby, 1981; Schwartz-Salant, 1982; Redfearn, 1983; Samuels, 1985; Corbett, 1989). Jung's self-concept seems to have been largely ignored by self psychologists with one exception. Oremland (1985) equates Jung's self with the cosmos and suggests that Jungian therapy tends toward "mystical purpose." His essay presents a distorted view of Jung's self concept and Jungian therapy. Oremland believes that to compare Kohut and Jung would provide ammunition for Kohut's detractors. While Oremland is critical of interrelating Jung and Kohut, most other authors of comparative essays have focused constructively on the similarities and differences.

Jacoby (1981) for example, points out the following parallels between the two theorists. Kohut (1977) sees the self as the center of the psychological universe, in contrast to the more traditional Freudian view of the self as a content of the mental apparatus (that is, as a representation). This formulation is close to Jung's definition of the self. Kohut, again, bears a striking resemblance to Jung when he writes that man's ultimate goal might be "the realization, through his actions, of the blueprint for his life that had been laid down in his nuclear self" (p. 133). Further, when Kohut states that "our transient individuality also possesses a significance that extends beyond the borders of our life" (p. 180) and describes "cosmic narcissism" that transcends the boundaries of the individual (Kohut, 1966), he seems to be referring to the phenomenon Jung describes as the transpersonal/transcendant aspects of the self. This is further reflected in Kohut's view of the cognitive inpenetrability of the self per se. For Kohut (1977) only "its introspectively or empathically perceived psychological manifestations are open to us" (p. 311). Gordon (1980) also notes how Kohut (1977), while discussing Kafka and O'Neill, emphasizes man's search for wholeness and meaning, and thus is very close to Jung's association of the experience of the self with the discovery of meaning.

Schwartz-Salant (1982) believes that Kohut is attractive to Jungians because his approach his similar to Jung's synthetic or purposive attitude toward therapy. Because of Jung's opposition to the idea of psychic determinism, he characteristically adopts a "final" perspective in which the self is conceived of not simply as the sum or outcome of causal sequences and antecedent connections in the past, but also as prospective and purposive, apparently possessing a sense of future direction and intention. Hence, it cannot be analyzed purely historically. Jung (1971) maintained that no psychological fact about an individual can be explained in terms of causality alone. For many Jungians, the idea that the self points toward future development frees one from the tyranny of a psychology based purely on developmental vicissitudes. Kohut's (1966) description of the narcissistic transference, for example, is reminiscent of Jung's (1969c) insistence that the transference be understood not only in terms of its historical antecedents, but also in terms of its purposefulness.

A variety of theoretical differences also exist between Jung and Kohut. For example, one of the major differences between the two authors lies in their different theories of the origin of intrapsychic structure. For Kohut (1971) structuralization of the child's inner world is the result of the parental selfobject's empathic responsiveness to the child's innate needs, whose origin is not specified. Jung, on the other hand, postulates that the child is born with an a priori psychological matrix, out of which personal consciousness will emerge. This matrix is structured in characteristic ways (archetypes) that provide the potential for particular forms of experience, whose content is determined by the child's interaction with his specific environment. The image1 that Kohut uses to illustrate the creation of intrapsychic structure is that of eating and assimilating food, which is digested to become part of the person. For Kohut, if we eat hamburger, we do not become hamburger, because the substance of the empathic interaction is assimilated in a unique way. This process of digestion creates the building blocks that eventuate in the development of a self. To continue within this metaphor, for Jung the unconscious contains specifically configured "enzymes" that digest the person's psychic substances (experiences) taken in during the course of the person's life, resulting in the subjective experience of personal identity. These "enzymes" are given with the person's psychic anatomy and are not simply the product of the person's interacting with his selfobjects, although the quality of this interaction is important in modifying their effects on the growth of the person.

Other theoretical differences have been noted by various authors. Jacoby (1981), for example, points out that one major difference between the two theorists is in their focus on the "location" of self-experiences. Jung provides a wealth of intrapsychic symbolic descriptions of the self, while Kohut focuses more on the transference manifestations of the self, although it is clear that these are all intrapsychic phenomena for the person. Schwartz-Salant (1982) also highlights certain differences, noting how Kohut's references to the cosmic qualities of the self are "only metaphors of little significance," not referring to the transpersonal realm of Jung's self. Further, Schwartz-Salant believes Kohut's characterization of negative affects, such as rage, as disintegration products of the self, differs significantly from Jung's idea that the self intrinsically contains both dark and light aspects. (Kohut is, however, clear that a cohesive self may experience rage as a primary expression of itself rather than as a disintegration product.) Samuels (1985) points out that Kohut's self is created during psychic development, and this notion is antithetical to Jung's concept of the self as a priori, especially when Kohut indicates that the self forms at a point in time. Samuels compares Kohut's theory of a self that gradually coalesces from smaller units to the theory developed by Fordham (1976, 1985), a developmentally oriented Jungian who describes the baby as possessing an initially integrated self unit that unfolds or "deintegrates" because of the interaction of its innate organizing ability with environmental experiences. Fordham is clearly presenting Jung's view, as for example, when Jung (1966) writes that the "meaning and purpose (of self-realization) is the realization in all its aspects, of the personality originally hidden away in the embryonic germ-plasm, the production and unfolding of the original potential wholeness" (p. 110). Jung's and Fordham's idea of the unfolding of innate potential, like Kohut's concept of the blueprint, raises several important questions about the origin of the self: Is the self solely the result of developmental processes with no a priori structures? Is the self given a priori with the birth of the individual? Is the self the result of innate structures interacting over time with the environment? These questions will be taken up in the next section."
(pp. 189-202)

Lionel Corbett and Paul Kugler (1989). Chapter 11: The Self in Jung and Kohut. Progress in Self Psychology, Vol. 5, pp. 189-208

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Masterson and Rinsley on Rewarding and Withholding Object Relations

"In the case of the borderline, the object relations unit remains split into two separate part-units, each of which comprises as it were a part-self representation, a part-object representation and an affective component which links the former two together. These two part-units are derived from internalization of the two principal themes of interaction with the borderline mother: the mother responds to the child's regressive behaviour by maintaining her libidinal availability, and to the child's efforts toward separation-individuation by its withdrawal. Thus are produced, in effect, the two afore-mentioned part-units, which may be termed the withdrawing part-unit and the rewarding part-unit, each of which has its own component part-self representation, part-object representation and predominantly linking affect; the withdrawing part-unit is cathected predominantly with aggressive energy, the rewarding part unit with libidinal energy, and both remain separated from each other, as it were, through the mechanism of the splitting defence. It will be recalled that this situation comes about through fixation at Kernberg's Stage 3, with ensuing failure of integration of 'good' (positive; libidinal) and 'bad' (negative; aggressive) self and object representations into whole (positive + negative) self representations and object representations, which would otherwise be expected to have occurred during Stage 4....

As already noted, the splitting defence keeps separate the rewarding and the withdrawing object relations part-units, including their associated affects. Although both the rewarding and the withdrawing maternal part-objects are pathological, the borderline experiences the rewarding part-unit as increasingly ego-syntonic, as it relieves the feelings of abandonment associated with the withdrawing part-unit, with the result that the individual 'feels good'. The affective state associated with the rewarding part-unit is that of gratification at being fed, hence 'loved'. The ensuing denial of reality is, in the last analysis, but a small price to pay for this affective state.

An alliance is now seen to develop between the child's rewarding maternal part-image (rewarding part-unit) and his pathological (pleasure) ego, the primary purpose of which is to promote the 'good' feeling and to defend against the feeling of abandonment associated with the withdrawing part-unit. This ultimately powerful alliance as it were further promotes the denial of separateness and potentiates the child's acting out of his reunion fantasies. The alliance has an important secondary function the discharge of aggression, which is both associated with and directed toward the withdrawing part-unit by means of symptoms, inhibitions, and various kinds of destructive acts. The aggression, which gains access to motility through the agency of the pathological (pleasure) ego, remains unneutralized, hence unavailable for the further development of endopsychic structure (Rinsley, 1968).

The withdrawing part-unit (part-self representation, part-object representation and feelings of abandonment) becomes activated by actual experiences of separation (or of loss), as a result of the individual's efforts toward psychosocial growth, and by moves toward separation-individuation within the therapeutic process, all of which inter se alia symbolize earlier life experiences which provoked the mother's withdrawal of supplies.

The alliance between the rewarding part-unit and the pathological (pleasure) ego is in turn activated by the resurgence of the withdrawing part-unit. The purpose of this operation, as it were, is defensive, i.e. to restore the wish for reunion, thereby to relieve the feeling of abandonment. The rewarding part-unit thus becomes the borderline's principal defence against the painful affective state associated with the withdrawing part-unit. In terms of reality, however, both part-units are pathological; it is as if the patient has but two alternatives, i.e. either to feel bad and abandoned (withdrawing part-unit) or to feel good (rewarding part-unit), at the cost of denial of reality and self-destructive acting out.

It is necessary now to consider the impact which this intrapsychic structure exerts upon therapeutic transference and resistance. In brief, the transference which the borderline develops results from the operation of the split object relations unit—the rewarding part-unit and the withdrawing part-unit—each of which the patient proceeds alternatively to project onto the therapist. During those periods in which the patient projects the withdrawing part-unit (with its part-object representation of the withdrawing mother) on to the therapist, he perceives therapy as necessarily leading to feelings of abandonment, denies the reality of therapeutic benefit and activates the rewarding part-unit as a resistance. When projecting the rewarding part-unit (with its reunion fantasy) on to the therapist, the patient 'feels good' but, under the sway of the pathological (pleasure) ego, is usually found to be acting in a self-destructive manner....

The working through of the encapsulated rage and depression associated with the withdrawing part-unit in turn frees its component part-self and part-object representations from their intensely negative, aggressively valent affects. As a result, the new object relations unit (constructive self + 'good' therapist + 'good' affect) linked with the reality ego becomes integrated into an overall 'good' self representation, while the split object relations unit linked with the pathological (pleasure) ego becomes integrated into an overall 'bad' self representation; both are now accessible to the patient's conscious awareness as are their counterparts within the person of the therapist. At this point, the patient has begun in earnest the work of differentiating good and bad self representations from good and bad object representations as prefatory to the next step, in which good and bad self representations coalesce, as do good and bad object representations. The stage is now set for the inception of whole-object relations, which marks the patient's entrance into Stage 4 (Kernberg, 1972).

The de-linking, as it were, of 'raw' instinctual energies from the rewarding and withdrawing part-units renders these energies increasingly available to the synthetic function associated with the patient's expanding reality ego, hence available for progressive neutralization. With this, and concomitant with the progressive coalescence of good-bad self and object representations, splitting becomes replaced by normal repression, with progressive effacement, as it were, of the personified or 'unmetabolized' images associated with the disappearing split object relations unit (Kernberg, 1966). The patient is now able to complete the work of mourning for these 'lost' images, which characterizes his final work of separation from the mother.
" (pp. 168-172)

James Masterson and Donald Rinsley (1975). The Borderline Syndrome: The Role of the Mother in the Genesis and Psychic Structure of the Borderline Personality. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Vol. 56, pp. 163-177


Saturday, March 10, 2012

The First Anniversary of the Psychoanalytic Muse

Today is the first anniversary of the Psychoanalytic Muse.  This blogsite was launched on March 10, 2011.  During the past year this site has been viewed 6238 times by readers from 77 countries around the world. It averages approximately 520 views per month and reached its highest readership just last month, February 2012, when readers accessed it 893 times.  It is extremely gratifying to see that the Psychoanalytic Muse has reached such a wide and diverse audience.  I see the success of this site as confirmation that the ideas associated with the various schools of Psychoanalysis and Analytical Psychology are vibrant, alive, and influential 112 years after Sigmund Freud initially published The Interpretation of Dreams.  My thanks and appreciation to all of the readers that have taken the time to read these posts during the course of the year.

Friday, March 9, 2012

C.G. Jung on the Distinction Between Psyche and Soul

"I have been compelled, in my investigations into the structure of the unconscious, to make a conceptual distinction between soul and psyche. By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. By soul, on the other hand, I understand a clearly demarcated functional complex that can best be described as a 'personality'." (CW 6, par. 797)
 C.G. Jung (1921) Psychological Types, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 6, par. 797, Princeton, NJ: Bollingen - Princeton University Press

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Judith Mitriani - Defensive Organizations

"Defensive organizations have been widely investigated, theorized about, and clinically illustrated, especially in the Kleinian literature, since Riviere's (1936) seminal paper on the negative therapeutic reaction. Rosenfeld (1964) described defensive organizations as structured, organized patterns of manic defenses, relied upon to ward off anxieties of a paranoid-schizoid and depressive nature. He observed that defenses such as omnipotence, grandiosity, denial, splitting, and projective identification, as well as the feeling of triumph over a diminished and denigrated object and dominance over the helpless, needy and dependent baby-self — when maintained throughout infancy and childhood without mitigation — may become a well-organized, rigid, and stable aspect of the personality.

This defensive organization, when idealized, often blocks the establishment of and substitutes for those good internalized objects which might otherwise protect and support the nascent self while continuing to foster its growth and development. Ultimately, the impressionable baby-self comes under the control of the defensive organization which employs seduction, "terror, persecution and dread" (Meltzer, 1968), or "the threat of insanity" (Money-Kyrle, 1969).

Rosenfeld (1971) further developed his ideas, titrating out from the concept of narcissism the notion of negative narcissism and its probable relationship to the negative therapeutic reaction. Both Rosenfeld (1971) and Meltzer (1968) conceptualized this character structure as a Mafia or gang: a covert and collusive network of renegade malignant objects in hierarchical organization, which provide the infantile self with a reliable source of protection from madness, psychic pain, and anxiety in return for absolute obedience, loyalty, and constant acts of tribute.

In analysis we can detect the existence of these structures as it becomes apparent that the patient cannot bear or is afraid of being dependent upon and having feelings of affection for or gratitude toward the analyst. In fact, these patients often experience negative therapeutic reactions just as the relationship with the analyst begins to deepen and productive work momentarily proceeds. Thus, when tangible gains are achieved by the analytic couple and the patient might otherwise feel some relief from his psychic pain and anxiety, it is as if the "gang leader" — in an attempt to assert its hegemony — rears its ugly head and brings it all down with doubts, somatic symptoms, guilt, and threats of death and destruction.

During these episodes, we often hear our patients complaining that the analysis is worthless or, even worse, noxious. However, what may appear as an attempt to denigrate the analyst's work and worth may well be intended as an act of appeasement toward some inner force that cannot bear the development of this fruitful alliance between analyst and analysand — since such a new alliance threatens to provide an alternate means of living and coping with and within relationships while rendering the old regime obsolete.
" (pp. 12-13)

Judith Mitrani (2007). Fear of Breakdown, the Compulsion to Repeat, and the Defensive Organization: in Psychoanalysis and in Patrick Suskind's The Pigeon. Fort Da, Vol. 13, pp. 7-25

Friday, March 2, 2012

Nathan Schwartz-Salant on the Correspondence Between Carl Jung's 'Participation Mystique' and Melanie Klein's 'Projective Identification'

"In 1946 Melanie Klein published ‘Notes on some schizoid mechanisms’ (19), in which she coined the term projective identification. Klein's paper employed the mother/infant object-relation and outlined a conception of parts of one person being put into and identified with another person. In the same year, 1946, Jung published the ‘The psychology of the transference’ (13), in which he used the arcane symbolism of alchemy to explore the same phenomenology as Klein. Klein's paper, as Donald Meltzer has noted, had an ‘electrifying impact [upon] the analysts who were closely working with her’ Meltzer (22, p. 20). Jung's hardly had such an impact. For most Jungians, let alone analysts of other schools of thought, his alchemical model often seems too abstract for ‘here and now’ clinical practice. Yet inherent in Jung's study of the transference lies an approach to the phenomenology of projective identification which richly elaborates the findings of Klein and other psychoanalysts, as well as deepening our understanding and widening the possibilities for clinical usage. Jung's work also helps delineate the limitations of employing the concept of projective identification.

Klein describes how: "The phantasied onslaughts on the mother follow two main lines: one is the predominantly oral impulse to suck dry, bite up, scoop out and rob the mother's body of its good contents … The other line of attack derives from the anal and urethral impulses and implies expelling dangerous substances (excrements) out of the self and on to the mother or, as I would rather call it, into the mother. These excrements and bad parts of the self are meant not only to injure but also to control and to take possession of the object. In so far as the mother comes to contain the bad parts of the self, she is not felt to be a separate individual but is felt to be the bad self ... Much of the hatred against parts of the self is now directed against the mother. This leads to a particular form of aggression which establishes the prototype of an aggressive object-relation. I suggest for this process the term ‘projective identification’ " (KLEIN 19, p. 8).

Klein further described how both good and bad parts of the self can be projected. When this is excessive, she says, the ego becomes weakened and impoverished (Ibid. p. 9), cannot assimilate internal objects, and feels ruled by them (Ibid. p. 11). In a further elaboration of these principles, James Grotstein has emphasised that projective identification is imagination (GROTSTEIN 10, p. 124). Projective identification, he writes, is a ‘mental mechanism whereby the self experiences the unconscious phantasy of translocating itself, or aspects of itself, into an object for exploratory or defensive purposes’ (Ibid. p. 123).

Rosemary Gordon has observed that Jung's usage of the term unconscious identity, psychic infection, participation mystique, induction, and the process he called feeling-into are synonyms for projective identification (9, p. 128). Jung's definition of feeling-into highlights its imaginal nature. It is a kind of perception process … it conveys, through the agency of feeling, an essential psychic content into the object; whereby the object is introjected. This content, by virtue of its intimate relation with the subject, assimilates the object to the subject, and so links it up with the subject that the latter senses himself … in the object. The subject … does not feel himself into the object, but the object felt into appears rather as though it were animated and expressing itself of its own accord. This peculiarity depends upon the fact that the projection transfers an unconscious content into the object, whence also the feeling-into process is termed transference in analytical psychology (JUNG, 11, p. 290, in the translation by H. G. Baynes (1923), pp. 359-60).

Jung's statement refers to positive aspects of projective identification which lead to aesthetic awareness (JUNG 11, par. 486), empathy, and a deep imaginal searching out of processes in the object. When he says, ‘The subject … does not feel himself into the object,’ he refers to a subject who already has an ego-self differentiation. But in other instances of projective identification the subject, or at least certain ego functions of the subject, as Klein emphasised, do project into the object, and this can lead to a state of confusion and to a weakening of consciousness that allows for emotional flooding by unconscious processes. In extreme instances a relationship dominated by projective identification can trigger psychotic episodes. As a result of the way the image of the self can hide in objects through projective identification, the subject has the unconscious phantasy of being invisible (GROTSTEIN 10, p. 130). This can become extreme, leading to a sense of a ‘loss of soul’ and a terror that the self can never be found.

Negative aspects of projective identification, such as confusion, identity loss or panic often appear dominant. However, projective identification also has the power, as Gordon has explained, to break down inner psychic boundaries, as well as those between a person and the object world (9, p. 145). This breakdown of structures is essential to any qualitative personality change.

Jung often stressed negative features of what Klein called projective identification. His goal in therapy, as stated in his commentary to The Secret of the Golden Flower, is the dissolution of those fusion states between subject and object, states he called participation mystique (JUNG 18, pars. 65-66). But this goal then appears questionable when Jung himself explains that once the self becomes the centre of personality, participation mystique is done away with and ‘results in a personality that suffers only in the lower storeys, as it were, but in its upper storey is singularly detached from painful as well as from joyful happenings’ (Ibid., par. 67). It would appear from this statement that one cannot totally do away with the process of projective identification except to banish it to the body, hardly a desirable state, and one that can lead only to mind-body splitting.

In these remarks Jung was centring upon what he called the ‘compulsion and impossible responsibility’ (Ibid., par. 78) that can accompany interactions dominated by participation mystique. Thus he emphasised the role of the self in breaking the compulsive tie between subject and object, the negative form of projective identification. In his study of the ‘Visions of Zosimos’ Jung struck a different tone and regarded participation mystique as underlying alchemical projections which ‘are a special instance of the mode of thinking typified by the idea of the microcosm’ (JUNG 16, par. 123). Generally, Jung was aware of the potentially creative and destructive aspects of participation mystique, and thus of the phenomenology of projective identification. He was influenced by both possibilities in his analysis of the alchemical imagery of the Rosarium Philosophorum, his Ariadne thread through the complexities of the transference (JUNG 13, par. 401)....

‘The psychology of the transference’, Jung's main statement on the transference, is centrally concerned with the phenomenology of projective identification. There he addressed unconscious processes that ‘have an inductive effect on the unconscious of [the] doctor’ (Ibid., par. 363). This theme repeats itself in variations throughout his study (Ibid., pars. 364, 365, 367). Jung described the phenomenology of projective identification as activating the unconscious and the archetypal transference..."
(pp. 39-42)

Nathan Schwartz-Salant (1988). Archetypal Foundations of Projective Identification. Journal of Analytical Psychology, Vol. 33, pp. 39-64

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beutel & Huber - Can Neuroimaging Contribute to Understanding Analytic Change?

Conclusion: "If we do not limit psychoanalysis to the domain of latent or manifest meaning, but consider it a general model of mind-more specifically, a model of mental disorders and psychotherapeutic treatment-then there are unique opportunities to study psychodynamic hypotheses and change processes (Kandel, 1998, 1999). The functioning of structures strongly affected by adverse experiences early in development (e.g., the limbic system) has become accessible to neuroimaging, opening new avenues for the study of psychoanalytic hypotheses and models. Some basic psychoanalytic tenets have been substantiated by recent neuroscience findings (e.g., the developmental impact of early experiences, unconscious processing). On the other hand, we cannot bypass neurobiological findings on biological vulnerability factors for mental disorders that may increase the vulnerability to adverse experiences in childhood or later life (Hariri et al., 2002). We are also alerted to potential biological changes resulting from adverse experiences (e.g., memory functioning in PTSD). As exemplified by the recent surge in mentalizing and related constructs, studying the neurobiology of psychoanalytic concepts may help in the formulation and testing of the psychodynamic concepts of psychic function. Given the growing discontent with atheoretical, descriptive diagnoses (e.g., major depression), neurobiological findings may help to refine diagnoses according to more functional categories, having implications for the current discussion on "disease-specific treatments." Functional characteristics of subgroups of patients beyond descriptive diagnostic criteria (e.g., levels of emotional processing as proposed by Lane & Schwartz, 1987; Moriguchi et al., 2006) may have an effect on treatment response to certain types of psychotherapy (e.g., psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, or a combination with psychotropic medication). While psychoanalytic concepts have been frequently assimilated and modified by various disciplines (e.g., psychology, psychiatry, neurosciences, humanities), psychoanalysis has moved into an academic outsider position in many fields. Increasingly, psychoanalysts have been advocating a reconnection with academic development (Bornstein, 2005). Among the entry points, neuroscience is but one, albeit an important and promising one." (p. 14)


Manfred Beutel and Michael Huber (2008). Functional Neuroimaging—Can It Contribute to Our Understanding of Processes of Change?. Neuro-Psychoanalysis, Vol. 10, pp. 5-16