projective identification

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Melanie Klein (1882—1960) psychoanalyst



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In Kleinian analysis, a fantasy (2) in which one inserts oneself, or part of oneself, into an instinctual object in order to possess it, control it, or harm it. The British-based Austrian psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (1882–1960) introduced the concept in 1932 in her book The Psycho-Analysis of Children, in which she described a child's fantasy of invading its mother's body and attacking it sadistically, but she did not introduce the term projective identification until 1952, when she described it in a chapter in a co-authored book Developments in Psycho-Analysis as ‘a particular form of identification which establishes the prototype of an aggressive object-relation’. See also identification (2), participation mystique.

Subjects: Psychology.

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