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Heimann, P. (1966). Comment on Dr Kernberg's Paper. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:254-260.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:254-260

Comment on Dr Kernberg's Paper

Paula Heimann

In his present paper Kernberg, when talking about an 'id-derived oral metabolic principle' (p. 240) expresses agreement with myself. Continuing my discussion with him I shall first repeat the substance of my comments on his original paper and then discuss his view that splitting is a mechanism characteristic for early infantile life.

Structural Models

I traced the source of the differences between Kernberg's and my views on early defences to the structural models underlying our theoretical approaches, and pointed out that the first of the two models of psychic structure which Freud (1923), (1937) presented can be described, without too gross simplification, as being based on the oral metabolic principle. According to this model, the id exists from the beginning and the ego is only secondarily derived from the id, is its surface that becomes modified through the intake of the external stimuli and their effects. Intake of the useful and output of the useless, introjection and projection, appear as the architects of structure. When barring the entry of dangerous stimuli, a sample introjection takes place first to allow testing their nature. Only the id is the carrier of inheritance and the reservoir of energy. The forces of the ego are borrowed from the id, its character is determined by identifications and represents a precipitate of abandoned object cathexes. At the Oedipus complex, the height of infantile sexual development, the third structure, the superego, becomes established; again introjection (of some aspects of the parents) and projection (of others) are the instruments which form this 'grade in the ego', repeating thus the pattern of the formation of the ego from the id.

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