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Lebovici, S. (1960). Symposium on Psychotic Object Relationships—I. a Psychotic Object Relationship. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:540-543.

(1960). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41:540-543

Symposium on Psychotic Object Relationships—I. a Psychotic Object Relationship

S. Lebovici

The mothers of schizophrenic patients, particularly of infantile schizophrenics, have been the subject of many psychopathological studies, but it is difficult to believe that they could provide any unambiguous description of structure. Diatkine, in his contribution to this symposium, shows that the genesis of the psychotic relationship is not only linked with the personality of the mother, but also to certain decisive moments and to the effects of evolutionary disharmonies on the mother herself.

The chief importance of the psycho-analytic study of psychotic children lies in the way it puts us in contact with a world of fantasy, which the child is able to verbalize, even though suffering from particularly complex fixations. It has thus become customary to speak of psychotic structures, to reach a clinical definition of psychotic defences, and to speak, therapeutically, of a psychotic transference.

Defence mechanisms in the child cover a much wider field than that of projection. The most interesting defences to study, at least from the point of view of the genesis of personality, are those which it is customary to describe, in the terminology of the English school, as projective identifications. The study of psychotic defence mechanisms and transference leads us inevitably to the study of psychotic object relations. Psycho-analytic observation of psychotic children has afforded a detailed insight into the fragmenting nature of the relationship to the fantasized part object.

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