Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access PEP-Web support…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you click on the banner at the top of the website, you will be brought to the page for PEP-Web support.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Segal, H. (1978). On Symbolism. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:315-319.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:315-319

On Symbolism

Hanna Segal


I think that symbolism originates in projective identification, first of all in the relationship to the breast then to mother's whole body. When this projection results in mutual damage or an excessively omnipotent identification of a 'sticky' kind, symbols formed are excessively concrete, empty of meaning or bizarre. If the projection is not excessively envious or narcissistic and if the mother's response is not mutilating, the infant introjects a breast and mother capable of the symbolic function, in Bions' terms, capable of converting α into β elements. When this happens symbol formation on the depressive level can proceed in the way I described in 1957.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.