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Allen, C. (1935). Introjection in Schizophrenia. Psychoanal. Rev., 22(2):121-137.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Review, 22(2):121-137

Introjection in Schizophrenia

Clifford Allen, M.D., (LOND.), D.P.M.

Although projection has been studied somewhat exhaustively its counterpart, introjection, has not aroused the same amount of interest.

Freud (1) has pointed out the immense importance of this mechanism in melancholia and Menninger (2) holds that suicide is dependent upon it. Menninger states, “It is almost axiomatic in psychoanalysis that an object of love and hate which is lost or escapes beyond the reach of the ego can be regained and retained by the process of introjection with displacement of the emotions appropriate to the original object on to the introverted object, that is the person within the person.”

Introjection is usually considered the mechanism par excellence of melancholia. The person introjected having been both loved and hated explains why the melancholic directs abuse against himself. In directing the abuse towards himself he is abusing the person he has introjected and so personally assumes the sins which he feels are now his own.

Although projection is usually considered the most important mechanism in schizophrenia the writer would point out the great importance of introjection in this disease. The cases recorded below are so obvious that only the most prejudiced will deny the presence of this reaction.

The reason why introjection is not observed so easily as projection is that introjection is frequently concealed by the presence of a secondary projection. This occurs in the following way: A man, for instance, introjects the personality of his mother. He begins to feel feminine and thinks that people are commenting on him. Soon he hears people saying that he is a woman and builds up delusions that there is a plot against him.

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