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Download liane-varnes | 2017-12-07 | General Geoff Goodman, Ph.D.. I. Major Figures of the Independent School. William Fairbairn. Donald Winnicott. Harry Guntrip. Michael Balint. John Bowlby. II. Shared Assumptions of the Independent School . The primacy of object-seeking over instinct gratification. ID: 613152

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Little empirical evidence (reliving birth process on couch)

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The Independent or “Middle” School

Geoff Goodman, Ph.D.


I. Major Figures of the Independent School

William Fairbairn

Donald Winnicott

Harry Guntrip

Michael Balint

John Bowlby


II. Shared Assumptions of the Independent School

The primacy of object-seeking over instinct gratification

Ego and objects are always connected by an affective link

Drive energy is not inherent in the existence of the ego and objects

Helplessness or infantile dependence on the mother is the primary state of being, not primary narcissism



E. Separation anxiety is the primary subject matter of psychopathology, not castration anxiety and the Oedipal conflict

F. Deficiencies in caregiving environment, not conflict between drives and society, are the ultimate cause of psychopathology



G. Development proceeds not in psychosexual stages but from infantile dependence to mature dependence

H. Psychopathology is derived from an accommodation to maternal caregiving, not a distortion of it through the cycle of projection and introjection

I. The integrity of the self determines drive modulation, not drive intensity



J. Aggression is not a constitutional drive but emerges from frustration with a seductive or unresponsive, unmirroring caregiving environment

K. Treatment consists of unblocking the natural process of development toward mature dependence to overcome caregiving deficits rather than making interpretations to integrate intrapsychic conflicts



L. Infant is prewired for adaptation and adjustment rather than initially psychotic and later depressed (a developmental achievement)

M. Repression consists of making unconscious certain aspects of the caregiver-infant relationship rather than exclusively traumatic memories or forbidden impulses


III. The Theory of William Fairbairn

The infant begins with a whole, harmonious ego

The ego becomes split from this initial whole

1. libidinal ego

a. connected to exciting object

1) repository for hopes of connection and gratification

2) idealized aspects of frustrating experiences with object

b. experiences of seduction and unfulfilled needs by real object



2. antilibidinal ego

connected to rejecting object

1) repository of anger and wish to withdraw from objects to protect from pain of abandonment

2) devalues aspects of rejecting experiences with object and relations with all objects

b. experiences of rejection and abandonment by real object



3. central ego

connected to ideal object (moral defense) and real object in external world

b. basis

for all external relations with real people


energy devoted to relationships with real objects siphoned off by relationships to exciting object and rejecting object



4. infant develops these objects in relation to both mother and father, which are integrated into one rejecting object and one exciting object



C. Libido is adhesive and becomes attached to “bad” objects--rejecting and exciting objects--to compensate

bad objects internalized to exercise control over them

bad objects internalized to preserve goodness of the real object and keep alive the hope that if the infant or child changes, love will be forthcoming



3. primary motivation is human contact, not pleasure

4. psychosexual stages of libidinal development represent different modes of relatedness to objects

5. all psychosexual conflicts are reduced to oral conflicts



D. Aggression is not a primary motivational factor

reaction to frustration of libido (antilibidinal)

aggression expressed through antilibidinal ego against rejecting object and exciting object (withdrawal of real relations)

antilibidinal ego can be directed against therapist’s awakening of hope, represented in the transference as an exciting object



E. Three developmental phases

1. infantile dependence (relations with real and compensatory objects)

2. transitional phase

3. mature dependence (renunciation of attachment to rejecting and exciting objects and real objects)



F. Cure--renunciation of these attachments and restoration of split-off ego to original integrity

conflicts among these three object relations create schizoid personality

establishment of relationship with loving object helps to heal these schisms in the psyche


IV. The Theory of Donald Winnicott

The infant begins as a mother-infant unit

The infant wishes for fulfillment of needs

1. mother presents fulfillment as infant wishes for it

2. moment of illusion of infantile omnipotence



C. Primary maternal preoccupation wanes

gradual disillusionment of infant’s omnipotence

introduction of objective reality

D. Pace of disillusionment

1. transitional object cushions fall from omnipotence by creating potential space between the real world and the infant’s omnipotent world



2. infant permitted to destroy transitional object because it is not totally under infant’s control, which survives attacks and therefore becomes real--outside infant’s omnipotent control



3. impingements--maternal intrusions that prematurely accelerate disillusionment process

withholding of gratification during excited affect states

interference with infant’s capacity to be alone--infant’s formlessness and unintegration in quiescent affect states


E. Formation of false self

hiding of true desires and innate vitality from oneself and one’s caregivers

impingements force self to focus on environment rather than internal subjective experience

a feeling of alienation from oneself results

false self protects integrity of true self



F. Cure--not interpretation but manner in which the analytic setting provides missing parental provisions and fills early developmental needs


V. Critique of the Independent School

Overemphasis of the role of the environment and underemphasis on the role of genetics

Greater likelihood of boundary violations in clinical practice (see Ferenczi)

Naïve reconstruction of infancy in the adult mind

Little empirical evidence (reliving birth process on couch)

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