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Projection and Introjection

 

Disciplines > Psychoanalysis > Concepts > Projection and Introjection

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Projection and introjection describe some interactions between the inner and outer worlds.

Projection

Projection takes aspects of one's internal world and projects them onto external subjects.

This can be a defense mechanism where it is used to expel and externalize uncomfortable inner thoughts and feelings.

Projective identification involves projection into another object and then identifying with the object (often a person). This keeps bad parts of the self at a safe distance without losing them.

Projection is based on an unconscious phantasy of excretion and expulsion.

It is thus 'output' from the internal world into the outer world.

Introjection

Introjection occurs where a subject takes into itself the behaviors, attributes or other external objects, especially of other people.

A common pattern is where a child introjects aspects of parents into its own persona.

According to Freud, the ego and the superego are constructed by introjecting external behavior into the subject's own persona.

This can be a defense mechanism where one takes on attributes of a strong other person who is able to cope with the current threat.

It is based on an unconscious phantasy of ingestion.

Introjection is not as primitive as incorporation, as it often involved drawing an object in, but not incorporating it into the body. An introjected object is drawn into the 'inner circle', but can still have a life of its own.

Introjective identification is the taking in of someone else's good objects. This occurs with people we like or admire.

Introjection is thus 'input' into the internal world from the outer world.

Discussion

Much of psychoanalysis is concerned with the interaction between the outer world inner worlds: how we take in and make sense of external events and how we put our inner thoughts and understandings back out into the outer world.

See also

Klein, Projection, Introjection, Internalization, Incorporation, Identification

 

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