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Perelberg, R.J. (1999). The Interplay Between Identifications and Identity in the Analysis of a Violent Young Man: Issues of Technique. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(1):31-45.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(1):31-45

The Interplay Between Identifications and Identity in the Analysis of a Violent Young Man: Issues of Technique

Rosine Jozef Perelberg

In this paper, the author develops the distinction between ‘identification’ and ‘identity’. Identification is a process that takes place in the unconscious and is the stuff of phantasies. Throughout his work, Freud postulated the fluidity of identificatory processes. ‘Identity’, in contrast, is an attempt that each individual makes to organise these conflicting identifications in order to achieve an illusion of unity, which allows an individual to make the statement ‘I am this’ (and not that). The author suggests that a fundamental characteristic present in some violent patients is an attempt by an individual, potentially overwhelmed by the extreme fluidity ‘between masculine and feminine identificatory processes’, to repudiate their feminine, passive identification, in order to establish a ‘persona’, an ‘identity’. A technical challenge in the analysis of these patients is for the analyst to identify the ‘shifts between the identificatory processes’ and interpret them to the patients. She indicates that as the analyst is progressively more able to identify the patient's internal movement between different states and identificatory processes and interpret them, the patient is himself more able to tolerate the internal fluidity between identificatory processes.

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