Intrusiveness and Intimacy in the Couple by Stanley Ruszczynski

By Stanley Ruszczynski

A suite of papers, principally in response to scientific paintings, which covers a number of suggestions and mechanisms that are imperative to any psychoanalytic psychotherapy with teenagers, teens, or adults. It addresses a subject which lies on the center of human relationships, that of intimacy.

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S o m e c l i n i c i a n s m i g h t a r g u e t h a t s u c h i n d i v i d u a l s a r e not c a p a b l e of r e l a t i n g a n d t h a t there is no r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h w h i c h the m a r i t a l p s y c h o t h e r a p i s t m i g h t w o r k . T h e y c o u l d therefore s u g g e s t t h a t s u c h i n d i v i d u a l s a r e better treated i n i n t e n s i v e i n d i v i d u a l p s y c h o t h e r a p y . All of t h i s m a y , of c o u r s e , be t r u e . However, I w o u l d like to s u g g e s t that s u c h c o u p l e s are en­ gaged i n a n object r e l a t i o n s h i p , b u t one t h a t is pathological i n its s t r u c t u r e .

A s first d e l i n e a t e d b y K l e i n , projective i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w a s u n ­ derstood to b e a n u n c o n s c i o u s p r i m i t i v e defence mechanism w h e r e b y p a r t s of t h e s e l f a n d i n t e r n a l o b j e c t s a r e s p l i t off a n d p r o j e c t e d i n t o a n object, w h i c h i s t h e n felt to p o s s e s s t h e p r o ­ 22 STANLEY RUSZCZYNSKI jected attributes. This is an omnipotent phantasy; it involves the domination of the object and a denial of separateness and, there­ fore, a confusion of identity.

T h e c o n c e p t h a s n o w b e e n d e v e l o p e d s u b s t a n t i a l l y , a n d for m a n y w r i t e r s it i s c e n t r a l i n t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of h u m a n i n t e r a c t i o n . B i o n , for e x a m p l e , w r i t e s t h a t , " t h e l i n k b e t w e e n p a t i e n t a n d a n a l y s t , or i n f a n t a n d breast, is the m e c h a n i s m of projective identification" (Bion, 1 9 5 9 , p. 1 0 5 ) , a n d h e refers to t h e w a y s i n w h i c h o n e p e r s o n c a n i n d u c e a n o t h e r p e r s o n to a c t u a l l y e x p e r i e n c e a n d / o r b e h a v e i n accord with the p h a n t a s i e s of t h e projective identification.

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