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Meissner, W.W. (1980). The Problem of Internalization and Structure Formation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:237-248.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:237-248

The Problem of Internalization and Structure Formation

W. W. Meissner


The present essay has attempted to address the central notion of internalization with particular reference to the derivation of internalizations from object-relationships. We have identified several major forms of internalization, specifically incorporation, introjection and identification and have discussed their distinguishing characteristics. Moreover, the role of such internalizations in relation to objects and the quality of object-relationships, to which they correspond and from which they derive, was explored. Not only does the quality of object-relations influence the type and patterning of internalizations, but there is also a reciprocal aspect of the subject's involvement in particular object-relationships in terms of which the internal organization of the self formed by the functioning of processes of internalization contributes to the shaping and distinctive quality of respective object-relationships. Consequently, the connexion between internalizations and object-relationships tends to be mutually determining and reciprocally correlated.

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