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Issacharoff, A. (1984). Primitive Mental States (A Symposium)—Introduction. Contemp. Psychoanal., 20:437-438.

(1984). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 20:437-438

Primitive Mental States (A Symposium)—Introduction

Amnon Issacharoff, M.D.

SINCE THE ADVENT OF A nosological array of psychopathology in the field of psychoanalysis with various entities subsumed under the general grouping of primitive mental states, psychoanalysts have been groping with technical issues so as to include these patients in everyday practice. Candidates in training often exhibit the ontogenetical aspect of this evolution. First they are taught the basic rules of psychoanalysis—they learn about conflict, defenses, resistance and transference, and they evaluate their patients accordingly. Only after they have mastered some of the intricacies of psychoanalysis, do they face the possibility of applying "parameters" to those patients who do not respond to the more classic techniques.

In the papers that follow we are introduced by four experienced analysts to their thinking about extricating their patients from their engulfed states and to accept the risk of engagement in the analytic situation. They share a basic assumption: the need to avoid intellectual detachment and introject a sense of fresh immediacy in their responses to their patients. Their focus on process is apparent even when content is emphasized.

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