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Smith, D.C. (1974). Some Functions of Projection in the Analytic Situation. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:383-389.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:383-389

Some Functions of Projection in the Analytic Situation

D. Clint Smith


I have attempted to demonstrate and discuss some of the functions of neurotic projection in the analytic situation. The first of these is the use of projection as a defence against an unacceptable impulse. The second function, pertaining to the richness and complexity of projection in the clinical situation, is the ego's use of projection as a way of reducing intrasystemic conflict by selecting and channelling a compromise expression of the drive derivative. Also, I have described an adaptive function that is true of projection in the analytic situation and in life. Part of the ego is actively searching to bring to consciousness and communicate repressed aspects of the self. In this process, projection may be a necessary first step, not to disavow one's feelings, but to gradually sort them out, acknowledge them, and accept them. In a collaborative context, projection can enhance a relationship by facilitating greater differentiation of the self.

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