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Quinodoz, D. (1996). An Adopted Analysand's Transference Of A ‘Hole-Object’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:323-336.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:323-336

An Adopted Analysand's Transference Of A ‘Hole-Object’

Danielle Quinodoz

The author describes the vicissitudes of the transference and countertransference in cases where the internal object transferred by the patient on to the analyst is experienced by the former as non-existent. A case history involving a ‘hole-object’ of this kind is presented, the patient concerned having been adopted at the age of six months and having the fantasy that she did not exist before her adoption. The hole-object is created by the patient to defend against psychic suffering and aggressive drives towards the object. A careful distinction is made between the hole-object, which is defined in terms of its non-existence, and the absent object, the ‘psychic hole’, the melancholic object and the bad-breast feeling, all of which exist or have existed at some time. The author describes the ‘double transference’, in which she represented both the idealised albeit well cathected adoptive parents and the disavowed, abandoning biological parents; in the latter case indifference took the place of love and hate in the transference. The analyst in this situation must in the author's view interpret his transference role as a hole-object so as to confer existence on this object and make it representable, and for this purpose a vital role falls to the countertransference. The split between the abandoning and the adopting aspects of the parents can then be resolved, giving rise to a single identificatory parental image.

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