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Ross, J.M. Dunn, P.B. (1980). Notes on the Genesis of Pathological Splitting. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 61:335-349.

(1980). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 61:335-349

Notes on the Genesis of Pathological Splitting

John Munder Ross and Peter Bruce Dunn


In this preliminary paper, we have concentrated on the reverberating system that may develop as parents respond to the rapprochement toddler's ambitendent communications of split objects and to some of the ways in which these

interactions may become reactivated later in borderline transference phenomena. We have hypothesized that such splits in mental content underlie communication of a fixed, binary and dualistic nature, such as communication that characterizes the so-called double bind. We have further suggested that the double bind, when understood in the context of object relations, usefully highlights the process whereby parent and then therapist become unwitting participants in the toddler's or borderline's world of split-off part objects. Finally, we have touched on certain therapeutic implications, emphasizing the developmental impact of interpreting borderline transference phenomena.

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