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(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: On Screen Defenses, Screen Hunger, and Screen Identity. Ralph R. Greenson. Pp. 242-262.. Psychoanal Q., 29:428.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: On Screen Defenses, Screen Hunger, and Screen Identity. Ralph R. Greenson. Pp. 242-262.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:428

Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958: On Screen Defenses, Screen Hunger, and Screen Identity. Ralph R. Greenson. Pp. 242-262.

Disorders of identity have predominated in recent years in patients seeking analysis. 'Screen identity' is characterized by 'screen defenses' and by hunger for screen experiences and memories. Such patients appear ready and eager to make contact, seem warm and giving, yet are unduly concerned with social standing and long to be well liked. They are often successful but their production is sporadic and unreliable. They are impressionable and gullible and can be ingratiating. In analysis they easily produce free associations, make strong positive transference, and appear to progress, but in time it becomes clear that they isolate large segments of life from the analysis and make extensive use of denial and negation. They appear to be impulse-depressives with hysterical superstructures.

The self-image can be utilized as a screen. For example, a patient used one identity with less painful associations to cover another more painful identity. Screen activities also offer gratification, as shown by the intense hunger for them; these patients are constantly seeking new experiences and new objects, never taking no for an answer nor accepting defeat. Reliving instead of remembering past experiences is frequent. The patients constantly seek to change the past, to falsify it, searching for experiences to serve as memories for distorting it. Multiple identities and self-images are common, not fragmented as in psychotics but rather well organized. They have no capacity to fuse a loved and hated object into a single object. Object relations are only partially satisfactory because of the constant hunger for objects and the tendency to transference reactions and 'oedipalization' of relationships. These patients are fixed on oral and phallic levels. Sexual life is relatively satisfactory but the primary objective is to feel closeness and sense of oneness rather than orgasm. The superego is unstable and corruptible because the parents openly disagreed, lied, and distorted reality.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. VI, 1958. Psychoanal. Q., 29:428

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