chapter  13
21 Pages

Projective identifi cation in contemporary French-language psychoanalysis

Projective identifi cation was described by Klein in 1946. From then on, it has been considered by many analysts to be one of the characteristic concepts of the Kleinian school, a source of admiration for some and an excuse for criticism for others. It has been said that the concept of projective identifi cation is the pons asinorum of Kleinian theory, in other words that it is the prerequisite for understanding Kleinian thinking, just as Pythagoras’s theorem is a key concept in descriptive geometry. René Diatkine would poke gentle fun at those psychoanalysts, Kleinians or not, who used the concept:

It is easy to measure the degree of Kleinianism of a keynote speaker: just calculate the time that elapses between the beginning of the talk and the fi rst use of the term ‘projective identifi cation’. The shorter the time, the more Kleinian the speaker!