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Zients, A.B. (1986). Identification and its Vicissitudes as Observed in Adolescence: Object Loss and Identification. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 67:77-85.

(1986). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 67:77-85

Identification and its Vicissitudes as Observed in Adolescence: Object Loss and Identification

Alan B. Zients


This paper presents clinical material from the analysis of a late adolescent whose father died when he was just 9 years old. It emphasizes the impact of his father's death upon subsequent identifications. It was through a reactivation of certain critical issues in the transference that the patient was enabled to mourn the loss of his father and to achieve a wider and more mature range of selective identifications.

Relevant information is presented to demonstrate how his primordial development influenced his reaction to his father's death. His later identifications were affected by his mother, brother and especially his stepfather. The influence of the death upon the analysis and his selective identifications with the analyst are explored.

A brief review of the relevant literature confirms Blum's observation that the splitting of the ego owing to the simultaneous denial and acceptance of the reality of parental loss may be accompanied by a splitting of both parent and self-representations into idealized and denigrated.

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