SCHIZOID MODES IN NARCISSISTIC AND BORDERLINE STATES: LEVELS OF DISTURBANCE IN

THE CAPACITY TO SYMBOLIZE AND ESTABLISHING A SPACE - TIME CONTINUUM

Co-Chaired by Susan Finkelstein and Nasir Ilahi at the American Psychoanalytic Association Annual Meeting in New York City

 

Schizoid mechanisms are found in operation in a wide variety of cases from the neurotic to the narcissistic and borderline. In British object relations theory Fairbairn first highlighted the significance of the defensive development of splits in the ego from the earliest stages of life, something that was later acknowledged by Melanie Klein within her own theoretical framework in her concepts of the paranoid schizoid position and of projective identification. More recently Henri Rey has expanded upon the links between schizoid modes and their links with narcissistic and borderline functioning, emphasizing the unconsciously concrete ways in which borderline patients may experience mental space and their encapsulation in a claustro – agoraphobic syndrome. The lack of transitional space hinders true symbolization, including disturbances in the space – time continuum. Often such patients form an identification with their objects in a rapid and shifting way, leading to disturbances in their sense of self identity. There can be a similar lack of stability and structure in their body ego. At an underlying level there is frequently a state of perplexity and confusion. The discussion group will consider the different contributions from British object relations theorists in this area in the light of detailed clinical material and also distinguish these approaches from those of the various North American schools.

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