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Shoshani, B. Shoshani, M. Becker, M. (2006). From Lifegiver to Mutual Nurturance: A Relational Perspective on Symington's Monadic View of Narcissism. Psychoanal. Dial., 16(5):499-517.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 16(5):499-517

From Lifegiver to Mutual Nurturance: A Relational Perspective on Symington's Monadic View of Narcissism

Batya Shoshani, D.S.W., Michael Shoshani, Psy.D. and Mitchel Becker, Psy.D.

This paper discusses Symington's theory of Narcissism. The two central ideas presented for discussion are the concept of the lifegiver object and the ontologies of psychic survival versus psychic freedom. These ideas are first elaborated and demonstrated through a detailed clinical example, which displays their significance and contribution to clinical theory and technique.

In the second part of the paper, we raise some questions about Symington's theory, and an alternative view is presented. The philosophical assumption that the ontology of survival is antithetical to the ontology of freedom as a human motivating force is challenged. The dialectic between both survival and freedom (separation and union) is presented as an alternative ontology. Similarly, the phenomenology of repudiating the lifegiver object is reconceptualized as an intersubjective coconstructed experience. The discussion deals with the implication of this idea to the theory of development, theory of cure and the theory of technique.

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