Projective Identification and Relatedness: A Kleinian Perspective

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This paper offers a Kleinian view of the relational understandings described in Mills’s paper regarding two central issues: the exploration of the analyst’s subjectivity by the patient, and the use of self-disclosure. It is suggested that from a Kleinian perspective it is less advisable to “invite” the patient to explore the analyst’s subjectivity, or to use self-disclosure as a curative procedure, because major analytic work focuses on the primitive parts of the personality, that is, the working-through of deep anxieties, massive projective identification, and a deep confusion between self and object. When working with these primitive parts of the personality, the transference relations are suffused with projections, and the patient is therefore unable to address the other’s subjectivity. Furthermore, in these areas of object-relations the patient seldom uses symbolic language but instead suffers from the dominance of symbolic equations, which enforce the delusion of sameness between internal and external objects. Inviting the patient to explore the analyst’s subjectivity, or exposing the patient to otherness through self-disclosure, thus serve as communications to the more adult, saner parts of the patient’s personality, whereas the more psychotic, confused parts that bring about most of his sufferings remain neglected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-355
Number of pages6
JournalPsychoanalytic Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 National Institute for the Psychotherapies.


  • Klein
  • projective-identification
  • self-disclosure
  • subjectivity
  • symbolic-equation
  • transference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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