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Sopher, R. (2018). An Allegiance To Absence: Fidelity To The Internal Void. Psychoanal Q., 87(4):729-751.

(2018). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 87(4):729-751

An Allegiance To Absence: Fidelity To The Internal Void

Rachel Sopher

The internal void or absence is often formulated in terms of the ongoing structural consequences of a profound lack in early maternal care resulting in a deficiency in psychic structure, an area of weak or non-representation. Rather than defining the psychic void solely as a lack of inner development leaving a passively experienced impoverished inner world, this paper highlights the phenomenon of libidinal investment in the original black hole in the early care-taking environment, creating an allegiance to absence, an emotional investment in a state of nothingness that actively impedes psychic growth and shuts down elaboration of the generative unconscious. Because the type of early absence comes about at a time when the difference between self and non-self is still developing, language and other types of communication that clearly define self and other may not be the most useful methods of broaching these early unformulated states. Treating an allegiance to absence requires that the primary attachment, or absence thereof, becomes actualized in the relationship between patient and analyst, the unique manifestations of which bring to life the absence in the here and now where it can be experienced and transformed.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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