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Mitrani, J.L. (1999). The Case of ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and the Search for a Containing Object. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(1):47-69.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(1):47-69

The Case of ‘The Flying Dutchman’ and the Search for a Containing Object

Judith L. Mitrani

In this clinical communication, detailed excerpts from a nine-year analysis are presented to illustrate the importance of ‘taking the transference’, the significance of Bion's concept of the ‘container’ and his extension of the work of Melanie Klein to include projective identification as a form of primitive communication, as well as emphasising the patient's search for the coherence and meaning in his experience. The author further demonstrates that such cases require that the analyst be willing to accept a given role—in the transitional space of the transference/countertransference—and that (s) he be able to verbalise interpretively how (s) he is being experienced, so that a containing membrane between inside and outside, between fantasy and reality, and between self and other may gradually evolve in the mind of the analysand. Throughout the paper various technical points are highlighted, especially as these relate the analytic task of introjecting certain aspects of the patient's inner world and allowing these to resonate with those respective elements of the analyst's inner world.

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