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Gibbs, P.L. (2007). Reality in Cyberspace: Analysands' Use of the Internet and Ordinary Everyday Psychosis. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(1):11-38.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(1):11-38

Reality in Cyberspace: Analysands' Use of the Internet and Ordinary Everyday Psychosis

Patricia L. Gibbs, Ph.D.

Introduction: Reality, Denial of Reality, and Virtual Reality

The patients I consider in this paper, those who use the Internet/computer heavily or addictively, are those who can be described loosely as schizoid in nature. By this I mean those individuals who use the Internet/computer to avoid the affective immediacy that would be involved in the transference. There are other ways to describe the patients discussed in this paper. Some individuals are essentially relating to themselves on the Internet/computer, and might be described as narcissistic. Depressed persons seeking to avoid the risk of interpersonal loss may hope to do so by controlling the Other, and confining relationships to the virtual. Finally, individuals called herein “schizoid” or “paranoid” withdraw into the safety of an internal world, finding the world of the Other taxing, persecuting, or simply nonexistent. What ties all these individuals together is each patient's need to control the object on the Internet/computer, hoping to escape fears that overwhelmingly catastrophic affect would be associated with interaction not so controlled.

An addictive quality was seen, in varying degrees, in each patients use of the Internet/computer. Some patients use the Internet to deny separateness from the analyst and maintain the dyadic preoedipal transference.

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