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Stolorow, R.D. Orange, D.M. Atwood, G.E. (1998). Projective Identification Begone!: Commentary on Paper by Susan H. Sands. Psychoanal. Dial., 8(5):719-725.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 8(5):719-725

Projective Identification Begone!: Commentary on Paper by Susan H. Sands Related Papers

Robert D. Stolorow, Ph.D., Donna M. Orange, Ph.D. and George E. Atwood, Ph.D.

In her recent article, Sands (1997a) seeks to cure self psychology's “phobic” opposition to projective identification by reformulating the concept “in terms that are more experience-near to self psychologists” (p. 652). From her extensive citations of our work, we infer that we are prominent among the phobics she wishes to disabuse of such aversive attitudes. Let us make our position clear from the start of our reply. We have never objected to the concept of projective identification because it is incompatible with self psychology. We object to it because we think it is bad theory. Before presenting our argument, however, there is another matter we must address. Despite being a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and respectful student and critic of our work, Sands seriously mischaracterizes our ideas in at least three instances.

1.   Throughout her article, Sands repeatedly amalgamates our intersubjective perspective with self psychology, as if the two theories were one. They are not. In several publications now (e.g.,

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