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Angel, K. (1967). On Symbiosis and Pseudosymbiosis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 15:294-316.

(1967). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 15:294-316

On Symbiosis and Pseudosymbiosis

Klaus Angel, M.D.


Three cases are presented who appear to have "symbiotic relationships" manifested by merging fantasies and extreme dependence. An attempt is made to demonstrate:

1. In symbiosis, merging fantasies are a true reflection of the state of the ego: the self and object representations are merged.

2. In pseudosymbiosis, merging fantasies are defensive formations, and the self and object representations are more or less distinct.

3. In adults with true symbiotic object relationships, the scale is weighted heavily on the side of fixation to the infantile symbiotic phase. In pseudosymbiosis, the element of fixation is minimal or absent, and the scale is weighted heavily on the side of defensive regression.

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