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Zepf, S. (2009). Modes of Identification: Freud's Concepts Reorganized. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 32(1):44-55.

(2009). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 32(1):44-55

Modes of Identification: Freud's Concepts Reorganized

Siegfried Zepf

The author examines Freud's conceptualizations of identification, Melanie Klein's projective identification, and Anna Freud's identification with the aggressor and altruistic surrender of one's own instinctual impulses. After demonstrating that Freud's concept primary identification refers not to a process but to the state of being identified, he suggests the substitution of it with Sandler's term “oneness”. He notes that hysterical identification, narcissistic identification, and introjection are unconscious processes that lead to a state of oneness and that they can be distinguished clinically in terms of the emotional meaning that an object holds for the individual. Furthermore, it is shown that the concept of identification with the aggressor represents a defense mechanism of its own and a specific mode of narcissistic identification, which together with projections and hysterical re-identification play a decisive rôle in projective identification and altruistic surrender of one's own instinctual impulses.

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