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Parkin, A. (1987). The Two Classes of Objects and the Two Classes of Transference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:185-195.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:185-195

The Two Classes of Objects and the Two Classes of Transference

Alan Parkin


The problem of reconciling within a single comprehensive theory and model the various phenomena of object love and narcissistic love is reviewed. This problem has given rise to such unintegrated theories as those of object-relations on the one hand and of drive-discharge and conflict on the other.

Following an early suggestion of Freud a distinction is made between two different classes of objects: the discharge object and the reflexive object. Their distinctive lines and stages of development are described, each one being comprehended within the systems (structural) model of psychic organization. The development of the discharge object follows the differentiation of the ego out of the ego-id matrix while that of

the reflexive object follows the development of the ego ideal-superego complex through processes of introjection.

Accordingly, two classes of transference are then distinguished, the discharge transference and the reflexive transference. Their essential developmental and clinical differences are discussed.

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