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Grinberg, L. Grinberg, R. (1974). The Problem of Identity and the Psychoanalytical Process. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 1:499-507.

(1974). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 1:499-507

The Problem of Identity and the Psychoanalytical Process

León Grinberg and Rebeca Grinberg

SUMMARY

The sense of identity is viewed as the outcome of a process of continued interaction of three links of integration, namely the spatial, temporal and social links.

By spatial link we understand the relation with the different parts of the self including the bodily self, maintaining its cohesion and enabling the comparison and contrast with objects; it tends to the self–non-self differentiation, i.e. individuation. We call it the link of spatial integration.

The temporal link refers to the relation of different representations of the self in time, establishing both a continuity between them and the foundation of a sense of sameness. We call it the link of temporal integration.

The third link refers to the social aspect of identity and is given, in our opinion, by the relationship between aspects of the self and aspects of objects by means of the mechanisms of identification. It is the link of social integration.

Although for the sake of simplicity these links have been described separately, it should be understood that they operate simultaneously and interact with one another. The various parts of the self could not become integrated in time without also being integrated in space; on the basis of these spatial and temporal integrations, the individual is able to establish links with objects of the external world (social link) in a realistic and discriminating manner.

The development of these links of integration is then described as it occurs in the field of the patient–analyst relationship in the course of treatment. The way in which this development leads to the consolidation of the sense of identity during the psychoanalytic process is also stressed.

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