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Bychowski, G. (1956). The Ego and the Introjects. Psychoanal Q., 25:11-36.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:11-36

The Ego and the Introjects

Gustav Bychowski, M.D.


The concept of splitting of the ego was first introduced by Bleuler. From this mechanism, which he considered a basic symptom of a large group of psychoses commonly known as dementia praecox, he derived the psychopathological entity to which he gave the name schizophrenia.

According to the foundation of his psychology, Bleuler believed the basis for splitting to be a weakening of links between associations. The intrusion of the associations which caused the disturbance was determined by affectively charged complexes: 'Those functions are disturbed which come into conflict with certain affective needs of the patients' (1p. 353). Since the schizophrenic ego can be linked in succession with various complexes, the patient, he said, may appear 'to be split into as many different persons or personalities as he has complexes' (1p. 362). Such splitting, according to Bleuler, plays an important part in the blurring of the distinction between imagination and reality. As a result of splitting a double orientation ('double bookkeeping') may be maintained so that while one part of the ego maintains a correct view of reality, another part freely distorts it.

With a slight substitution of terms this corresponds closely to Freud's formulation that the mechanism of splitting is based on a partial denial of reality by a sector of the ego.

It is of interest to observe that Bleuler, with his characteristic tendency to relate psychopathology to psychology, speaks of splitting as 'another example of exaggerated physiological processes'.

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