21 Pages

Infant–parent interactions, phantasies, and an “internal two-person psychology”

Kleinian and intersubjective views of projective identification and the intergenerational transmission of trauma
WithSeligman Stephen

In this chapter, I show how intersubjective infant research and modern Kleinian thinking can be brought together to yield a strong psychoanalytic model of psychic life oriented in a theory of internal two-person structures. I borrow from the observationally oriented infant researchers’ emphasis on interaction processes to look at two different fathers interacting with their babies, Jamal Jr. and Daniel. Jamal Jr.’s father is generally responsive, while Daniel’s manhandles him, at three days of age; in so doing, he is re-enacting his own father’s treatment of him. I invite the reader to make the plausible assumption that these observed interactions would, if generalized, affect the development of their unfolding psychology.