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Tip: To see Abram’s analysis of Winnicott’s theories…

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In-depth analysis of Winnicott’s psychoanalytic theorization was conducted by Jan Abrams in her work The Language of Winnicott. You can access it directly by clicking here.

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Blass, R.B. (2015). Conceptualizing Splitting: On the Different Meanings of Splitting and Their Implications for the Understanding of the Person and the Analytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(1):123-139.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(1):123-139

Conceptualizing Splitting: On the Different Meanings of Splitting and Their Implications for the Understanding of the Person and the Analytic Process Language Translation

Rachel B. Blass

(Accepted for publication 6 August 2013)

While “splitting” is a familiar concept, its meaning is not as self-evident as is commonly assumed. In different contexts, it refers to different phenomena and is supported by different understandings of psychic dynamics. In this paper, the author presents four different conceptualizations of splitting, which capture the essential aspects of contemporary psychoanalytic discourse on the concept. There is a dissociative kind of splitting, which involves splitting off, in the face of trauma, whole personalities, which to some extent remain accessible to consciousness; there is a disavowal kind of splitting that splits off our awareness of disturbing realities or their meanings in our efforts to avoid the inner restraints imposed by repression; and there are two forms of splitting of the object into good and bad-one focusing on the splitting of representations of the object due to ego weakness and environmental determinants, and the other on the splitting of the mind itself in a primarily destructive act aimed at sparing the good from the destructiveness of our death instinct. All four conceptualizations have their origins in Freud's writing and then are further developed in the work of later analysts. The author argues that understanding the nature of these various conceptualizations of splitting can contribute to analytic theory and practice. It also sheds light on the essential nature of analytic approaches and how they offer different perspectives on the unity and disunity of man's basic nature.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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