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Khan, M.R. (1966). Role of Phobic and Counterphobic Mechanisms and Separation Anxiety in Schizoid Character Formation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 47:306-312.

(1966). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 47:306-312

Role of Phobic and Counterphobic Mechanisms and Separation Anxiety in Schizoid Character Formation

M. Masud R. Khan


The schizoid character disorders are distinguished by the fact that the symptom lies in the way of being. To express it in a more popular contemporary jargon symptom takes the form of an existentialist stance (cf. Laing, 1961). In this paper I shall single out for discussion some features of the schizoid person's affectivity, internal psychic reality and object relations. I shall draw upon the clinical material of three patients. They had sought treatment because their private and subjective experience of their existence had gradually been becoming more and more bleak, inconsolable and futile. This was at variance with their socio-professional development, where they were considered highly successful and creative persons. All three had felt threatened by a mood of withdrawal which compelled them to break all links with reality and external objects. They made a quick working alliance in the analytic situation and were cooperative eager patients, even though they were not very hopeful about the result.

In my paper on 'The Working Through of Symbiotic Omnipotence in the Schizoid Personality' (1966), I have discussed the specific affectivity and the need for a specialized sort of object relationship met with in these patients. I have postulated there that these patients exhibited in their total life span a series of highly organized dissociations. Their social relationships and private emotional experience were totally discrepant. I tried to show how this derived from the specific nature of the cumulative trauma experienced by them in their childhood vis à vis their primary object.

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