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Amaral, L. (1974). A Discussion of the Paper by T. L. Dorpat on 'Internalization of the Patient–Analyst Relationship in Patients with Narcissistic Disorders'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 55:189-191.

(1974). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 55:189-191

A Discussion of the Paper by T. L. Dorpat on 'Internalization of the Patient–Analyst Relationship in Patients with Narcissistic Disorders' Related Papers

Lygia Amaral

I would like to commend Dr Dorpat on a lucid and succinct exposition of a complex subject and, in my opinion, his paper (this issue) acts as a springboard for developing and expanding the theme under review.

The study of the link being formed between a person willing to observe the other one and the acceptance and collaboration of the other under observation, as we all of us know, started with the fascinating case of Fräulein Anna O. reported by Breuer & Freud (1895). Since then many papers have been written by analysts focusing on the issue summarized in the following quotation from Freud (1921): 'In the individual's mental life, someone else is invariably involved as a model, as an object, as a helper, as an opponent.'

The mental world is built up from the relationship that is first established between the child and mother or the child and another adult figure who takes care of her or is present in daily life. Subsequently, providing the individual does not erect and maintain barriers against his development, mental life will expand through contact and relationships with other people.

The analytic work based in the relationship between two people has its peculiarities in the observation of what is going on in this new relationship, especially with regard to the anxieties, defences and fantasies that are perceived by the analyst and communicated to the patient when both are able to deal with them. The analytic process, by illuminating functions which the patient hitherto was unable to recognize or admit, is able to transform little by little the patient from being an opponent of the process into an acute observer of his own opposition.

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