Projective Identification in the Clinical Setting: The Kleinian Interpretation

By Robert Waska | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

What the literature states about clinical technique

While hundreds of articles and dozens of books on the subject of PI have appeared in the last twenty years, most pertain to theory. This body of literature is dedicated to a theoretical exploration of the various intrapsychic and interpersonal meanings and motivations behind the PI process. Technique is rarely addressed. For the most part, there is a minimal amount of case material to illustrate the theory. Without many actual verbatim accounts, the reader is left to assume there is a one-to-one correlation between theory and technique. When an author discusses a particular type of PI in patients, one has to guess that the analyst would then attempt to analyze that manifestation of PI directly. I tried to avoid these assumptions by limiting my survey of the literature to Kleinians who specifically point out how they would technically intervene.

Most concepts or theories in psychoanalysis generate a great deal of literature, yet one is seldom privy to how the analyst uses the idea in day-to-day clinical practice. Therefore, whether the literature is discussing repression, splitting, isolation, depressive guilt, reparation, transference love, acting out, or any other common clinical situation, it is rare to find much said about actual interpretations to the patient. It seems that this trend has gradually shifted in the last twenty years to more case reports with line-by-line case material. One reason why ongoing supervision, workshops, and study groups are vital to an analyst's career is that actual analyst-patient dialogue is much more available for examination.

The majority of Kleinian analysts reporting PI interpretations are writing within the last twenty years. Again, this seems part of an overall shift in psychoanalysis where there are rnore published reports of what actually takes place in a clinical hour. In regards

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