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Galin, I. (1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Contributions to the Metapsychology of Psychotic Identifications. Edith Jacobson. Pp. 239-262.. Psychoanal Q., 25:616-617.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Contributions to the Metapsychology of Psychotic Identifications. Edith Jacobson. Pp. 239-262.

(1956). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 25:616-617

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954: Contributions to the Metapsychology of Psychotic Identifications. Edith Jacobson. Pp. 239-262.

Irvin Galin

Jacobson compares identification in schizophrenics and manic-depressives and describes the differences between psychotic and normal ego and superego identification. After normal grief there is a realistic ego identification with the dead person. The melancholic treats himself as if he were the dead person. The schizoid 'as if' type behaves as if he actually were the loved object.

'As if' imitative identifications occur in the preoedipal phases. Identifications based on infantile fantasies of oral incorporation result in a fusion of self-images with images of the loved object. The magical quality that results weakens the perception of reality. Imitation is normally gradually replaced by ego identification with greater differentiation between the object and the self. Incorporative fantasies change into active strivings to become like the love object in actuality. Representations of self and object become partially blended because of real similarities. In psychosis there is a regression from resembling the object to magical union with it.

In the ego ideal and superego, magical identification occurs normally by means of idealized images of the parents blended with archaic aggrandized images of the self. Such identifications help the ego to develop good relations with external reality, for the object relations are not destroyed but transformed.

The manic-depressive confuses the concepts of self and object. The great dependence

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on the object for narcissistic supplies and the resultant hypercathexis of the object make the patient vulnerable to narcissistic hurt, which arouses hostility to the objects and fear of annihilating them. So the cathexis is withdrawn and the hostility turned against the self. Primitive images of the parents are reanimated as the object cathexes are withdrawn. These images merge with the superego and the worthless self becomes the victim of the superego on which it is also dependent.

In schizophrenia the regressive processes go further, with loss of structural differentiation. Here elated and depressed states are not expressions of conflicts or reconciliation and reunion between superego and self, but of total fusions between self-images and object-images. An escape from superego conflicts comes by dissolution of the defective superego. The schizophrenic tends either to destroy the object and replace it by the self, or to let the self be annihilated and replaced by the object.

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Article Citation

Galin, I. (1956). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. II, 1954. Psychoanal. Q., 25:616-617

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