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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Rubens, R.L. (1984). The Meaning of Structure in Fairbairn. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:429-440.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:429-440

The Meaning of Structure in Fairbairn

Richard L. Rubens


The full implications of Fairbairn's writings have not been recognized due to a reluctance to acknowledge the extent to which his theory represents an abandonment of Freud's structural model. Fairbairn substituted instead a view of the self which was fully object-related and rooted in his metapsychological assertion that energy and structure were inseparable. Moreover, Fairbairn maintained that the establishment of structure within the psyche was a pathological rather than healthy development.

The paper differentiates two different forms of internalization implicit in Fairbairn's writing: the structuring variety, which involves repression and eventuates in ego splitting (the formation of crystalized subsystems within the original unity of the self), and the non-structuring variety which results in memory and higher levels of integration, but not in the establishment of endopsychic structures within the self. It is proposed that this differentiation explains the seeming inconsistencies in Fairbairn's position on the internalization of good objects.

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