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Re: Projective identification stands up/ recognize Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on July 6, 2006, at 15:26:22

In reply to Re: Projective identification stands up/ recognize gardenergirl, posted by Dinah on July 2, 2006, at 9:19:27

> I've got to admit this is one of those psychological concepts that I can't get my brain around. It's like trigonometry to me.

It sort of is like trig. It's definitely not two-dimensional, and I'm not sure it's even tangible except in the manifestation of it.

I have a hard time understanding the concept of triangulation without seeing or at least picturing a diagram. PI is sort of the same for me. It helps me to have a diagram.
a diagram of the process between a client and therapist

What's not pictured is what can happen when the "treater" does not contain and modify the "bad self object". That's when the treater begins participating in the PI and begins to act out the client's "fantasies". By this I mean they begin to act in ways which confirms the existence of a wholly negative (or wholly positive) "self". The client feels relief from psychic anxiety as they are now able to "control" or at the least, predict the treater's responses.

> If I understand correctly, with projective identification you are brought to feel what another person is feeling, even if they aren't openly expressing it. So that if you're talking to someone angry - whether or not they're showing it, you begin feeling angry even if the situation doesn't necessarily call for anger.

Sort of, but PI involves the other person actively somehow "penetrating" you with the part of themselves they find intolerable. It could be anger. It could be feelings of shame, guilt, inherent "badness", paranoia, selfishness, etc. It can also be positive things, if someone finds those intolerable.
> Is this supposed to be a matter of simple contagion?

I think what you described could be ascribed to empathy, intuition, sensitivity, etc. It's not pathological or a defense mechanism. I think it's a skill.

> Or is it thought that people do subtle and likely unconscious things to arouse these feelings? Like phrase their sentences in such a way as to engender anger? Or hit previously known buttons?

That's a good question. I get hung up on *how* this happens if I try to think of it beyond an abstract concept and instead try to identify interpersonal "markers" or specific behaviors.

Hope this helps. I find it a very interesting subject.





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