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Matte-Blanco, I. (1941). On Introjection and the Processes of Psychic Metabolism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 22:17-36.

(1941). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 22:17-36

On Introjection and the Processes of Psychic Metabolism

Ignacio Matte-Blanco

IT is now twenty-three years since Sigmund Freud brought into the arena of psycho-analysis a concept which he then used for explaining certain processes in mourning and melancholia. Some time earlier Ferenczi had christened it, and, since Freud's paper, the term 'introjection' has been ever present in the various phases of development of our science. The first notions given to us by him received an important development and enlargement thanks to the work of Abraham, who linked up introjection with the period of oral development of the libido. His disciple, Melanie Klein, continued his work and, here again, developed it along certain lines. Thanks to her work we have been able to gain more insight into what are now called 'introjected objects', into the various handlings to which the individual submits those objects in the course of his emotional alternations, and we have been presented with a vivid account of the devastating effects of hate in destroying them, tearing them to pieces, blowing them up, etc., and of the painful work of love in its attempt to counteract such effects by restoring them to their original state, isolating them or keeping them apart from dangers.

Many of the familiar terms of old, which were almost the 'pets' of the psycho-analysts of previous decades, have been relegated to the past, almost forgotten, in order to give way to this word 'introjection', which nowadays has an almost magic halo around it. Many of Melanie Klein's theories and suggestions have met with strong opposition, and I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that as soon as the subject is mentioned we find analysts speedily gathering into opposing and apparently irreconcilable groups—one which accepts absolutely all her contributions, and the other formed by those who feel inclined to sift in a more critical manner both the clinical material offered by the first group and the conceptions underlying their presentation.

Those belonging to the first group accuse the others—more or less implicitly, more or less explicitly—of not being able to accept their theories on account of emotional difficulties.

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