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Giovacchini, P.L. (1967). The Frozen Introject. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 48:61-67.

(1967). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 48:61-67

The Frozen Introject

Peter L. Giovacchini


Two patients, who are considered as being examples of a particular type of character disorder are briefly presented in order to focus upon the constricting and paralysing effects of early introjects. In both cases the maternal introject is conceptualized as being defensively "frozen", i.e. neither dead nor alive, following their mothers' death since a hypercathexis of the lost love object that is characteristic of mourning would be overwhelmingly destructive. The frozen introjects and their paralysing effects on the patients' productivity and acquisition of adaptive techniques are stressed.

From a therapeutic viewpoint these patients are especially interesting since I believe that many of our cases have similar ego mechanisms and are considered untreatable. Frequently these patients give the impression of not being able to form a relationship with the therapist and transference does not seem to occur. However, when one understands their ego structure one learns that their lack of involvement represents a characterological defence to a disruptive non-adaptive object relationship which is re-enacted in the analysis and, in itself, is a transference manifestation.

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