The utopian fantasy of a new person and the danger of a false analytic self

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Utopian thinking may backfire and become destructive when its idealizations, splits, moralism, and perfectionism are followed uncritically. The utopian fantasy of the purified New Person, prominent in many religious, national, and political movements, may legitimize the harrassment of individuals seen as flawed, as failing to achieve the desired new identity. The expectation to mold a 'real analyst' may acquire some of the characteristics of the New Person fantasy and become persecutory for candidates. Some idealizations in psychoanalysis are discussed, as well as the way they can contribute to a paranoid atmosphere in psychoanalytic institutes, to regression and infantilization in candidates. One way of handling the impingements of a rigid and anxiety-provoking training is to develop a false analytic self, which hinders the intrinsic growth of analytic identity. Changes in the structure and climate of training programs can reduce such risks and allow a better fit between the institutional form of training and its substantial goals of individual growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-60
Number of pages23
JournalPsychoanalytic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

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