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Bollas, C. (1984). Moods and the Conservative Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 65:203-212.

(1984). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 65:203-212

Moods and the Conservative Process

Christopher Bollas


In summary, then, moods are ordinary psychic phenomenon which serve important unconscious functions. Like the dream, a mood has a kind of necessary autistic structure to it: people who are in a mood, like persons who are asleep, are inside a special state where a temporal element is at play. They will emerge, like the dreamer, after the spell is over. Some moods, particularly those that are a part of a person's character, are occasions for the expression of a conservative object, as a conservative object is that internal self state that has been preserved intact during childhood often upon some breakdown between the child in relation to his parents. When a person goes 'into' a mood he becomes that child self who was refused expression in relation to his parents for one reason or another. As such, moods are often the existential registers of the moment of a breakdown between a child and his parents, and partly notate the parent's own developmental arrest, in that the parent was unable to deal appropriately with the child's particular maturational needs. What was a self experience in the child, one that could have been integrated into the child's continuing self development, was rejected by the parents, who failed to perform adequately as ordinary 'transformational objects', thereby destining a self state to be frozen by the child into a conservative object that fated such a state of being to be subsequently represented only through moods.

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