Lives of the Unconscious

Lives of the Unconscious

Podcast on Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Episode 16: Denial, Splitting, Projection – The early defense mechanisms

Lives of the Unconscious

The division head of a company has called an important meeting. All employees are present at the agreed upon time, except for the boss. Only once an employee calls him does he remember the meeting and arrives significantly late. He apologizes cursorily and begins the meeting. In the next few minutes, in front of the assembled team, he criticizes specific employees unusually harshly for their work performance and for their failures until they feel very small and humiliated.
What is the function of the boss’ defense? And why is it called an early defense mechanism in psychoanalysis? More on this episode.

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Literature Recommendations:

  • Freud, A. (1936/1994). The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence. London: Routledge.
  • Bion, W. R. (1959). Attacks on linking. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 40, 308–315.
  • Grant, J. (2002). Transference and Projection: Mirrors to the Self. Maidenhead (UK): Open University Press.
  • Kernberg O (1967). “Borderline personality organization”. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 15 (3): 641–85.
  • Klein, M. (1998). Love, Guilt and Reparation. New York: Vintage.
  • Klein, M. (1946). Notes on some schizoid mechanisms. In: Envy and gratitude and other works: 1946–1963 (pp. 1–24). New York: Free Press, 1986.
  • Kramer, U. (2010). Coping and defence mechanisms: What’s the difference? – Second act. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice. 83 (Pt 2): 207–221.
  • Milton, J. (2020). Essential Readings from the Melanie Klein Archives: Original Papers and Critical Reflections. London: Routledge.
  • Sandler, J. (1988). Projection, Identification, Projective Identification. London: Routledge.
  • Vaillant, G. E., Bond, M., & Vaillant, C. O. (1986). An empirically validat-ed hierarchy of defence mechanisms. Archives of General Psychiatry, 73, 786–794.

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