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Savvopoulos, S. Manolopoulos, S. Beratis, S. (2011). Repression and Splitting in the Psychoanalytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 92(1):75-96.

(2011). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 92(1):75-96

Repression and Splitting in the Psychoanalytic Process Language Translation

Savvas Savvopoulos, Sotiris Manolopoulos and Stavroula Beratis

The authors examine the concepts of repression and splitting and their interplay during the psychoanalytic process. Initially, repression was introduced by the clinical phenomenon of resistance, leading to the formulation of the association between intrapsychic conflicts and neurotic symptoms. Later, repression was linked to normal development and to personality organization. Splitting, on the other hand, has been defined in quite diverse ways. The two main definitions are of splitting within the ego, and splitting of representations of the self, and of internal and external objects. Repression and splitting are compared developmentally, dynamically, and with respect to their relationship to psychic functioning and energic conditions. Clinical material is presented from the analysis of a patient who presented with borderline personality organization and narcissistic features. During the initial phase of analysis, splitting associated with projection, projective identification and idealization were the main defence mechanisms. As the analysis progressed and the themes of omnipotence and mourning were explored with the simultaneous working through of drive derivatives expressed in the transference, repression gained ground over the more primitive defence mechanisms. The evolution of the case showed a gradual shift from splitting to repression and the association of repression with a more advanced psychic organization. This development reflected the dynamic movement from borderline to hysterical organization in psychoanalytic nosology.

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