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Rosenblatt, A.D. (1991). Projection, Identification, Projective Identification: Edited by Joseph Sandler. Madison, Conn.: Int. Univ. Press, 1986, 216 pp., $30.00.. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:822-826.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:822-826

Projection, Identification, Projective Identification: Edited by Joseph Sandler. Madison, Conn.: Int. Univ. Press, 1986, 216 pp., $30.00.

Review by:
Allan D. Rosenblatt, M.D.

The concept of projective identification has, since its introduction by Melanie Klein in 1946, been defined and elaborated in various ways, lending ambiguity to an already controversial notion. This book, devoted to an exploration of projective identification, includes the edited transcripts of the First Conference in 1984 of the Sigmund Freud Center of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The title is thus somewhat misleading, since most of the contributors to this volume speak of projection and identification only as a background to the concept of projective identification. There were five original participants in the conference: Joseph Sandler (who chaired the proceedings), W. W. Meissner, Betty Joseph, Otto F. Kernberg, and Rafael Moses. In addition to their contributions, all of which involved clinical material, and discussion among themselves and the audience, another paper, by Yoram Bilu, an anthropological psychologist, has been added, along with two introductory chapters, one by Joseph Sandler and Meier Perlow and the other by Joseph Sandler.

The first chapter, by Sandler and Perlow, capably reviews the interrelated concepts of internalization, externalization, projection, identification, introjection, and incorporation. In the next chapter, Sandler covers the history of the concept of projective identification, dividing its development into three stages, and provides his own comments on the subject.

In "first stage projective identification," starting with Klein's formulations, the process is understood to occur only in fantasy and is solely intrapsychic, the real object not being affected. The projection and identification only involve "processes of change in the mental representations of self and object" (p. 16) of one person. The concept was widened soon after its introduction to constitute the second stage, wherein an interpersonal aspect is included. Here the real object, e.g.,

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