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Sands, S.H. (1997). Protein or Foreign Body?: Reply to Commentaries. Psychoanal. Dial., 7(5):691-706.

(1997). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 7(5):691-706

Protein or Foreign Body?: Reply to Commentaries Related Papers

Susan H. Sands, Ph.D.

I feel fortunate to have received two such thoughtful, stimulating commentaries. Each has helped me clarify my position. Bacal's expansive account has helped me think more deeply about my own part in the “projective identificatory” process, and Crastnopol's incisive critique has helped me clarify where self psychology begins and leaves off in my own work.

Can Self Psychology's Theoretical Framework Support “Projective Identification”?

What of Crastnopol's most damning contention that self psychology does not possess an appropriate underlying theoretical framework to support the “borrowed concept” of projective identification? In the first place, I am not trying to “import” a concept from one theory to another. I am attempting to describe a particular phenomenon that happens in all forms of therapy—self-psychological, Kleinian, interpersonal, and otherwise. I am starting with the phenomenon and trying to find more self psychology-near language to explain it—not seeking to graft the Kleinian explanation whole onto self-psychological theory. Indeed, in the section in which I discuss the phenomenon as a particular selfobject need, I deliberately do not use the term “projective identification,” and here I will most often refer to this phenomenon as “experiencing-through-the-other.”


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