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Mitrani, J.L. (1998). Unbearable Ecstasy, Reverence and Awe, and the Perpetuation of an “Aesthetic Conflict”. Psychoanal Q., 67(1):102-127.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 67(1):102-127

Unbearable Ecstasy, Reverence and Awe, and the Perpetuation of an “Aesthetic Conflict”

Judith L. Mitrani, Ph.D.

The author discusses Tustin's concept of the unbearable ecstasy of at-one-ment and her attentiveness to the importance of the containing function of the mother, Bion's distinction between “reverence and awe” and defensive idealization, and Meltzer's notion of the “aesthetic conflict.” Each theme has bearing upon the provocation or mitigation of envy, the process of introjection and the development of both healthy and pathological internal object relations, the nature of the superego, and self-esteem. Clinical material is presented to illustrate the phenomena described, and conclusions which may have an impact upon our attitude and technique in psychoanalysis are put forward.

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