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Ikonen, P. Rechardt, E. (1980). Binding, narcissistic pathology and the psychoanalytic process. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(1):3-28.

(1980). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 3(1):3-28

Binding, narcissistic pathology and the psychoanalytic process

Pentti Ikonen, PHIL. MAG and Eero Rechardt, M.D.

The Binding Process

We have previously pointed out (Ikonen & Rechardt, 1978) that the problem of destructiveness is part of a more comprehensive problem, i.e. how to eliminate and/or minimize something that is experientially disturbing. Destruction is a very primary method of eliminating a disturbance but it does not have the meaning of the non-alternating destruction instinct nor the aggressive instinct.

Thus, into the focus of inspection rises the disturbing process and its psychic handling. Libido is the agent of disturbance in this inspection; in the early phases of the psychoanalytical theory it was considered to be sexual libido striving for sensual pleasure, later on as narcissistic libido as well. The name given to libido in its entirety by Freud was Eros in which he thereby included narcissism. It is worthy of notice that narcissism and narcissistic disturbances are two separate concepts, although they very often are mixed.

A preliminary view on the metapsychology of experiencing “disturbance” was outlined in our above-mentioned paper. According to that viewpoint, the problem lies in the relation between the less developed (lesser consideration for the total situation) and the more developed, bound libido. In our opinion, binding is a more comprehensive process than the mere formation of stiff, tonic cathexes to render secondary processes possible which is a commonly accepted view. Binding increases the manoeuvrability of libido in the effort to abolish disturbance. It is the core representation of Thanatos. Where there is something psychic, there is binding.

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