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Giovacchini, P.L. (1963). Integrative Aspects of Object Relationships. Psychoanal Q., 32:393-407.

(1963). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 32:393-407

Integrative Aspects of Object Relationships

Peter L. Giovacchini, M.D.


A patient with character disorder illustrates the damage sustained by the ego in the absence of satisfactory early object relations. The patient compensated for his lack of an object early in life by splitting of the ego and idealization of an external object to maintain synthesis. The ego defect was experienced as emptiness and unawareness of the nature of his own needs, qualities which may be the essence of the character disorders and which arise from lack of satisfactory introjects for synthesis and expansion of perceptual and executive ego systems. The identity sense was likewise disturbed and the patient had to incorporate an omnipotent object to achieve positive cathexis of his self-image as well as to counteract its hateful destructive aspects.

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