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Gill, H.S. (1991). Internalization of the Absent Father. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 72:243-252.

(1991). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 72:243-252

Internalization of the Absent Father

Harwant S. Gill


The analysis of a woman, born of an unmarried mother, is presented. Her mental representation of the fantasized father was derived partly from her own wishes and fears, partly from what she was told by her mother, and partly from what she discovered through her own observations and enquiries. The revival in the transference of the split-off parts of her self and of the related bipolarity in her representation of the absent father, the search for their origin in her childhood, the discussion of their operation in her present and past relationships, and the working through of her resistances to change, enabled her to integrate the split-off parts of her self, and to maintain stable relationships.

The child's need to internalize a father,

whether or not the latter exists in reality, raises the question whether human offspring have an innate propensity to relate to a father, or a father introject, even when the latter is derived from fantasy alone.

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