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Brandchaft, B. (2007). Systems of Pathological Accommodation and Change in Analysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 24(4):667-687.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24(4):667-687

Systems of Pathological Accommodation and Change in Analysis

Bernard Brandchaft, M.D.

This paper is an attempt to investigate certain structures of subjectivity laid down in development by processes of pathological accommodation. These emerge when the child is required preemptively to adhere to the needs of its primary objects at the expense of its own psychological distinctness. By repetitive patterning of the child's first reality, an immutable product is created and emerges in the form of fixed belief systems. Systems of pathological accommodation are responses to the trauma of archaic object loss and designed to protect against intolerable pain and existential anxiety. These structures are reactivated in analysis in the context of reciprocal, mutually influencing structures operating unrecognized in both patient and analyst. When they are not addressed, they represent a formidable source of resistance to the analytic process.

A review of pathological accommodation in the history of psychoanalysis itself is provided.

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