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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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Knight, R.P. (1940). Introjection, Projection and Identification. Psychoanal Q., 9:334-341.

(1940). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 9:334-341

Introjection, Projection and Identification

Robert P. Knight

During the last few years psychoanalysis has become increasingly interested in the processes of introjection, projection and identification. The psychoanalytic study of children has played no small part in stimulating this interest and has thrown considerable light on the parts played by these processes in normal ego development and functioning as well as in abnormal psychological states. Reflecting this increased interest, there is now an imposing body of literature having to do with the theory and clinical aspects of these mechanisms. There is, however, a regrettable inconsistency and lack of unanimity in the usage of these terms in the literature. S. H. Fuchs in a recent paper attempts a comprehensive review of these inconsistencies and suggests certain definitions and distinctions. However even his article falls short of clarifying the term identification, which is probably used in more different senses than any other psychoanalytic term. This paper aims to elucidate this term in relation to introjection and projection.

Introjection seems to be used regularly as equivalent to and synonymous with incorporation, and may be defined as an unconscious inclusion of an object or part of an object into the ego of the subject. It is a psychological process based on a tendency of the id to incorporate an object according to an oral pattern. Introjection, however, seems always to involve previous projections onto the object of the subject's own unconscious tendencies, so that not even this process is to be found isolated from other psychic mechanisms.


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