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Parens, H. (1970). Inner Sustainment: Metapsychological Considerations. Psychoanal Q., 39:223-239.

(1970). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 39:223-239

Inner Sustainment: Metapsychological Considerations

Henri Parens, M.D.


The paper examines some metapsychological aspects of inner sustainment and its implications for treatment. Internalization of the external environment is of central importance in the development of the organism. That is, separation-individuation and differentiation of psychic structure are given their particular characteristics by the processes whereby the experiences in the external environment—particularly those of the first six years of life—are taken into and form much of the content of the internal environment.

Inner sustainment is the product of 'multiple function' of the psychic organization. The genesis and dynamics of the forces interacting to effect the character of inner sustainment

are delineated. Changes in internal representations by the action of assimilative processes effect changes in psychic structure not only in childhood and adolescence but even in adulthood; and this fact is important for treatment. The character of inner sustainment can be modified by treatment, and well-being increased; treatment can cause development to a greater degree of self-reliance and maturity.

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