Affect, Object, and Character Structure

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International Universities PressInc, 1995 - Psychology - 266 pages
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Affects, object representations, and character structures are three central concerns for contemporary psychoanalytic treatment.
The much neglected difficulties with positive affects and affective attitudes such as joy, exhilaration, courage and competency are explored in the present volume through extensive case material. A treatment model emphasizing a reversal of the traditional figure-ground is carefully delineated; positive affects, for so long held in the background, are brought into the foreground and become the central focal points for the psychotherapy process. Oedipal implications of this reversal in figure-ground are comprehensively delineated.
The object relational implications of this reversal of perspective are explored in the present volume via an intensive focus upon the protectiveness reactions via which earlier objects are repetitively shielded from angry critical reactions and negative judgments. The incapacity to mourn and, ultimately, let go of pathological introjects and identifications is linked to an unconscious need to protect early objects against unfavorable perceptions and associated affective reactions. A failure to attain maturational momentum from a more adequate process of mourning, object relational integration and psychic healing results from these pathological protectiveness reactions.
Common forms of character pathology and resistances can be viewed as resulting from an excessive need to protect early pathological objects. The extreme stuckness and repetitively unsatisfying behavior patterns of many characterologically disturbed patients can be alleviated via an intensive form of resistance analysis focusing upon the reluctance to experience positive affects and the inner object relational paradigms associated with that reluctance. The paradoxically beloved toxic objects and nostalgic attachments unconsciously underlying many forms of character disorder need to be repeatedly focused upon, in the treatment model explicated in the present volume.

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The Centrality of Affects in Contemporary Psychoanalysis
Clinging to Negative Affects
Dread of Exhilarated Affects in the Phobic Patient

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About the author (1995)

Morton Kissen is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University.

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