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Siegman, A.J. (1967). Denial and Screening of Object Images. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 15:261-280.

(1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15:261-280

Denial and Screening of Object Images

Alfred J. Siegman, M.D.


In psychotics, borderlines, and in cases with pregenital pathology, where there is a deficient repressive ability of the ego, the immature ego may deny object images as a defense against dangerous or painful id strivings and their derivatives, which are thereby deactivated. Screen object images linked to less threatening id strivings are commonly substituted in a fashion similar to screen-memory formation. Often this process is obscured because at first glance the screen object image does not appear to be of the wish-fulfilling type that is traditionally associated with denial. This mechanism helps to explain: the fixity of certain crude transference images, instances of how denial of object images can ward off internal perceptions, and the presence in consciousness of frank id derivatives. This mechanism also accords with Freud's formulation of the evolution of ideas of persecution. The need to undo the denial of transference images is stressed. This often leads to the recovery of associated and significant anamnestic material.

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