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Havens, L. (1984). Explorations in the Uses of Language in Psychotherapy:—Counterintrojective Statements (Performatives). Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:385-399.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:385-399

Explorations in the Uses of Language in Psychotherapy:—Counterintrojective Statements (Performatives)

Leston Havens, M.D.

How poor the human mind would be without vanity! It resembles a well stocked and ever renewed ware-emporium that attracts buyers of every clan: They can find almost everything, provided they bring with them the right kind of money—admiration.— Nietzsche

WITH SUCCESSFUL COUNTERPROJECTION, PARANOID PEOPLE often become depressed (Havens, 1980). At this point they seem to resent the very counterprojective statements they had welcomed earlier. I speculate that having shared the hostile feelings, the therapist has reduced them and withal the need for projection; essentially, the ego is strengthened by empathy and can reclaim the projected object. The projection comes home, is now part of the patient, and to some measure can be identified with. It is still active and attacking, but from within; hence the self-accusations. Whereas the patient can join the therapist in attacking the projection when it is "outside", the patient resents the counterprojective attack when it is inside because of this renewed identification with the object.

This is a confirmation of the theory that hostile projections represent unbearable feelings or ideas which can no longer be contained by the personality and are therefore put outside. It could be said that the unbearable must be shared, if that did not suggest a happier transmission than the recipients of paranoid projections usually experience. Nevertheless, the value of the term "shared" appears from a different direction.

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