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Newirth, J. (1997). On identification with the paternal subject: from autism to therapeutic symbiosis. Free Associations, 7(2):269-279.

(1997). Free Associations, 7(2):269-279

On identification with the paternal subject: from autism to therapeutic symbiosis

Joseph Newirth

In a Series of papers, Searles (1979) has presented an original theory of the psychoanalytic process which can be seen as an extension of the object-relations theories presented by Winnicott, Bion and Klein. His approach is to describe, or more accurately map, the changing landscape of the affective, perceptual, cognitive and linguistic experiences of both individuals within the evolving analytic relationship. His rich descriptions of the changing landscape of the psychoanalytic relationship introduced the study of subjective experience and predates by a generation current interest in intersubjective phenomena. Searles' work continues to be a source of inspiration and insight into the relationship between countertransference and the development of constructive analytic relationships.

Countertransference and Introjective Identification

Searles adapted Erikson's (1950) concept of identity in an attempt to provide a theoretical structure for his clinical observations. At times he uses the concept of identity in its original structural form; at other times he emphasizes the developmental meaning as it relates to processes of intenalization and the evolution of a sense of self.

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