IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

Back to Table of Contents

The revised psychopathology from 1941 outlines a typology based on four ‘techniques’, understood as ways of manipulating the ‘accepted’ and ‘rejected’ objects formed in the course of the schizoid position. The nature of the object-relationships established during the stage of infantile dependence determines which of the four techniques is employed, or the extent to which each is employed, during the transitional stage between infantile and mature dependence. The typology comprises: (i) obsessional neurosis, in which both the accepted and the rejected object are internalized; (ii) the paranoid technique, in which the accepted object is internalized, and the rejected object is externalized; (iii) the hysterical defence, in which the accepted object is externalized, and the rejected is internalized; and (iv) the phobic position, in which both the accepted and rejected object are externalized (1941: 46). The splitting of the ego is seen as the underlying factor in all psychopathology. Thus, the aetiological distinction based on defences against specific instinctual urges (sucking, biting) gives place to a thoroughgoing object-relations theory of psychopathology. The theoretical and clinical emphasis of Fairbairn’s revised model of psychoanalysis is evident above all in his contention that patients who are diagnosed ‘depressive’ are often ‘schizoid’ in character; the dissociated phenomena of hysteria, for example, “involve a split of the ego fundamentally identical with that which confers upon the term ‘schizoid’ its etymological significance” (1944: 92; emphasis added). The diagnostic generalization extends to the ‘normal’ as well as the pathological on the grounds that “internalized bad objects are present in the minds of all of us at the deeper levels” (1943: 64-5). Fairbairn (1952) criticized Klein for never satisfactorily explaining how fantasies of incorporating objects orally can give rise to the establishment of internal endopsychic structures. In his view, unless such an explanation is provided, such internal objects cannot be spoken of as structures, but remain figments of fantasy. He attempted to connect Klein’s mechanisms with a structural model. His analysis of splitting - observed in patients with schizoid tendencies - is of lasting clinical value and provided fertile background for the understanding of the structural models of the internalization of object relations to come (Kernberg, 1977). While Fairbairn replaced dual instinct theory with a radical object relations theory when he stated that the “Impulses must be regarded as… representing the dynamic aspect of ego structures…and they necessarily involve object relationships…” (Fairbairn 1951, p. 167), and therefore left the issue of a decisive fundamental failure on the part of the environment open, his ‘exciting object- libidinal ego’; ‘rejecting object- anti-libidinal ego’; and the ‘ideal object central ego’ are major intrapsychic structures that have been later criticized for oversimplification. On the other hand, his clinical studies, demonstrating that the pathology of sexual development is intimately linked with the evolving patterns of intrapsychic and interpersonal development, have been widely acknowledged and remain a lasting contribution. III. D. Ferenczi and Balint: Primary Object-love and the Theory of Clinical Technique The tradition of object-relations thinking in the Budapest school, more particularly, the work of Ferenczi, enters the British school of psychoanalysis through the contribution of Michael Balint. Drives and relations are seen as equally significant at the beginning and while Balint does not depart from classical drive theory in the manner of Fairbairn and others in the


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online