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Weaver, C. (1999). An Examination of the Relationship between the Concepts of Projective Identification and Intersubjectivity. Brit. J. Psychother., 16(2):136-145.

(1999). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 16(2):136-145

An Examination of the Relationship between the Concepts of Projective Identification and Intersubjectivity

Carol Weaver, M.A.

Projective identification has been described as ‘the most fruitful psychoanalytic concept since the discovery of the unconscious’ (Young 1994, p. 120). Many psychoanalysts, including Ogden, have also begun exploring the philosophical concept of intersubjectivity and how it may augment psychoanalytic understanding and practice. Existential psychotherapists include those who believe that intersubjectivity is the basic way in which humans relate. Diamond writes that ‘Without a notion of intersubjectivity, psychoanalysis is in difficulty, for it is impossible to envisage how feelings belonging to one individual pass into another’ (Diamond 1998, p. 202).

After exploring the concept of projective identification and the claims from various contemporary psychoanalysts that this mechanism is interpersonal rather than purely intrapsychic, the paper explores the philosophical concept of intersubjectivity. The communication of emotion and the implications for therapy are then discussed, before conclusions are drawn about the relationship between the two concepts under examination.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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