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Muhlegg, M. (2016). Projective Identification in the Intergenerational Transmission of Unsymbolized Parental Trauma: An Adoptee's Search for Truth. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 24(1):51-73.

(2016). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 24(1):51-73

Projective Identification in the Intergenerational Transmission of Unsymbolized Parental Trauma: An Adoptee's Search for Truth

Mercedes Muhlegg

Though it remains controversial, projective identification is now widely accepted as a concept related to the basic communication of emotional experience in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy. As such, it has become established as a clinical tool related to transference and countertransference. Nevertheless, a review of the literature indicates that projective identification in the analytic relationship has not been linked clearly enough to the analytic reconstruction of intergenerational transmission of trauma, where the patient has been the passive receptacle of parental displacements of unmourned trauma and loss. In such cases, the process of internalization has occurred transpersonally over more than one lifetime. The author will show the value of using the intersubjective model of projective identification as a probe to further understanding of unconscious intergenerational dynamics related to unsymbolized trauma. Details of the analysis of an adoptee woman's mission to uncover the secrets of her origins will illustrate this hypothesis.

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