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36. О некоторых неосознаваемых процессах в жизни индивидов и групп Т. Мэйн (Some Unconscious Processes in Individual and Group Life. T. F. Main)

36. Some Unconscious Processes in Individual and Group Life. T. F. Main

The Cassel Hospital for Functional Nervous Disorders, Ham Common, Richmond, Surrey, England

Freud gave the term Psychoanalysis three meanings: a method of investigation; a body of knowledge derived from the investigation; and last and least a method of treatment. He regarded the first two meanings as more important than the third but of course the very sanction to investigate painful matters springs only out of clinical need. The doctor who offers the hope of help gets astonishing freedom to observe and investigate not only the secret parts of the body but also of the mind. Thus the clinical bargain implied in the third meaning (treatment) has permitted psychoanalysis to gain its first meaning; of an investigatory technique. The analysand offers the flow of his thoughts, ideas, memories, fears, sadnesses, daydreams, etc-, and thus his incongruities, exaggerations, self-deceptions, disguised motives, inconsistencies, etc.; and the psychoanalyst listens without censure, approval or correction but seeks to understand and make inferences about mental processes of which the analysand is unaware, but which he can recognise as true once the psychoanalyst points these out.

Psychoanalysis as a body of knowledge (the second meaning) grows from the investigatory method. The body of observations about unconscious mental processes becomes connected, and is systematically classified, and more or less colligated, and brought under general laws. Thus psychoanalysis has become a body of systematised theory, explanatory and rational, and capable of being revised, altered, or expanded whenever new observations are made which cannot be brought under its existing laws.

The growth and correction of psychoanalytical knowledge rests ultimately on clinical observations. It is not surprising that as new opportunities for investigation arise the range of psychoanalytic observation increases; and that theories which may have been adequate for explaining all observations of the past may not be able to encompass all later observations. Thus theory needs regular review if it is to remain meaningful. For instance, revisions of early empiric clnical hypotheses (such as the Oedipus complex) and also more abstract non-clinical theory (such as libido theory) once adequate, have had to be reviewed in the light of the various fresh findings which came from newly opened clinical fields. Findings depend on the field surveyed. As you know, Freud's earliest findings came from cases of adult female hysteria where he observed that hysterical symptoms represented, in disguised, forms, conflicts between hidden sexual longings and attempts to repudiate these. To explain these observations he erected some plausible hypotheses; for instance, that there were two levels of consciousness, that sexual excitement if dammed up is converted into anxiety and later that a mental force - he called it repression -operates to keep certain thoughts unconscious. These hypotheses were brilliantly novel and adequate for the time, but later psychoanalytical investigations in other fields than hysteria produced other findings which tested these hypotheses anew. Some could accommodate the new facts and consequently became promoted in reliability - for instance the theory of repression has stood the test of time to this day. Other hypotheses did not survive the later findings - for instance, the theory that anxiety was the result ot dammed up sexual excitation had to be discarded and superceded by more adequate theory. The new facts allowed still other clinical hypotheses to be expanded and promoted in abstractness - for instance, the clinical hypothesis that there were two levels of consciousness ultimately grew into the abstract theory of mental topology which postulates an Unconscious, a Preconscious and a Conscious.

In most of his early theory building Freud used analogues from the thought-models of his day. Psychic energy stored excitation, discharge of energy by direct or indirect channels, resistance, and defence are, fairly clearly, analogues from electric-hydrostatic thought. But he welcomed new thought-models-for instance, that of energised structures (Id, Ego, Super-ego) and went on theory building because it is essential for bringing order to new clinical facts. He was a brilliant maker and revisor of theory but he did not worship it. He was above all a supreme observer. Only facts were sacred and theory had to accommodate them.

But what about the new facts? These came from two kinds of developments, technical and operational. The relation between theory and observation is always intimate and dynamic. Adequate theory sensitises the observer to the existence of phenomena and to the relation between phenomena. It thus promotes the capacity to observe and note, and correlate phenomena, and it makes demands for newer technical adequacy. But with this improved observatory technique new phenomena may eventually be observed which are discordant to the theory in use, and require its revision in turn. In science the inevitably dynamic interplay between investigatory technique and theory requires steady critical assessment; and it certainly has been so with psychoanalysis. But another matter influences the discovery of new facts - the fresh adventure into hitherto unexplored fields of study. With the slow refinement both of theory and technique psychoanalytic investigations steadily become possible in clinical areas for which the earliest technique and theory was unpromising. In turn these have yielded new facts which have had to be assimilated theoretically. Do they call for a new universal theory? Can they be assessed as special instances requiring only a sub-theory? Only time and work can show.

Psychoanalysis as a technique and a theory was rooted in the treatmentof hysteria, but its immediate growth occurred by an increasing number of psychoanalysts extending their fields of study to obsessional states, perversions, depressions, and delusional states. Each new field of study in turn yielded new facts and demanded theory which could encompass them. This process is unceasing to this day. I wish to draw attention to two distinct fields of study, one fairly long explored, that of childhood and infancy, and the other-in which studies are fairly new - of group life.

During the early 1920's the first of these two fields was opened up for psychoanalysis. Children were studied by a new technique - the analysis of their unguarded play, because children are unable to reflect and to relate steadily through unguarded speech. Two pioneers were outstanding although they worked with different problems and so made different findings. I want to discuss two concepts of Melanie Klein but at this point must pay tribute to the other pioneer. Anna Freud had been a school teacher and her psychoanalytical work brought her into contact with neurotic problems which hindered the achievements of the child's Ego. Her work innovated special studies of Ego psychology and this dimension of the mind has since been eagerly explored by many other distinguished workers. This development revealed and brought to further order not only a great range of findings about the Ego but about developmental processes and the interrelation between the Id, Ego and Super-ego.

Melanie Klein encountered different opportunities. Her earliest encounters were with grossly disturbed young children who quickly revealed their distorted views about their parents. Her young patients were often floridly aggressive and destructive in their thoughts and play and her earliest findings concerned the ubiquity, variety and floridity of aggressive fantasies in the early life of these children. The fantasies frightened the children but also distorted their perceptions of their parents and the world around them.

Her findings from young disturbed children led her to erect novel clinical hypotheses which in turn demanded review of abstract theory. Later her new insights were used in the study of severely disturbed adults and with her new viewpoints she again made fresh findings which again have demanded reviews of abstract theory. These reviews are neither complete nor uncon-tended and I do not propose to dwell on them- Rather I wish to draw attention to two of her clinical hypotheses which are far from abstract in that they are empiric testable observations. They concern internal objects and projective identification. Both of these concepts are extensions of two clinical observations made by Freud and frequently repeated by other psychoanalysts. The first - internal objects - is an extension of Freud's finding about the nature of the internal observing function of the mind which censors mental activity and produces feelings of self-satisfaction or self-disapproval. He called this the Super-ego (in German - Uber-Ich) and he realised that it was created in childhood by the child installing his parents in his min d so that after a certain age even when his parents are physically absent their internalised presence will watch him, guard him, praise him, caution Ыпъ support him, punish him, etc. The child now has an unconscious set of strengths and standards quite independent of his real parents, to accompany him throughout life and which create various states of self-esteem, high or low. These internalised parents can be referred to as "internal objects". These objects are unconscious but powerful, and are founder-members of the Super-ego although this can be somewhat added to by later internali-sations of later significant figures.

Freud had also discovered that these internal objects could be projected onto various others in the individual's environment. These others might then be related to, not in their own right but as if they were representatives of the person's own parents, (e. g. all teachers are aware that certain pupils behave towards them unrealistically and attribute to them benevolences or malevolences which they do not in fact possess). Freud regarded projection as a mechanism which could be applied to impulses which the individual seeks to disown in himself but attributes to others, (e. g. in marriage: it is not I who is quarrelsome, it is my wife!) Already it is possible to see that the projection of internal objects and impulses into the external world may greatly colour, even decide, some of our relations with others both at work and at play.

Melanie Klein's extensions of these two observations of Freud's - the interna]isation of objects and processes of projection-have been far-reaching. She found that each begins much earlier than Freud had deduced from his work with adults and is more fateful than he realised for personality development and for shaping external relations with others.

She showed that internal objects are highly personalised and are far from being accurate representatives of the real parents. Rather they are representatives of the child's versions of his parents, and therefore grossly distorted by his early interests, fantasies, and perceptions, ( e. g. of devouring and being eaten up, of messing and wetting) and by his fierce projected passions of love and hate. These grossly distorted objects beginning with the breast are internalised and then are felt to be a property of the self; on the one hand bounteously generous and blissfully comforting to the self and on the other overwhelming, cruel and annihilating to the self. To begin with the young child has only extreme objects, wholly good or wholly bad because in early life there are no half measures, (e. g. mummy is either the most lovely mummy in the whole world or else she is horrid and hateful and we shall never, never forgive her. Never.) Later, with increased maturity and the growth of reality-testing, other versions of the mother, less extreme, may be internalised, but the basic tendency of man to view his external objects in the two extreme ways, wholly good, or wholly bad is laid down in the pattern of his internal objects in early life. The important matter for personality development is that the experience of his own life is also laid down now. He experiences, himself either as a safe person, loved and loving and lovable, helped by good internal objects in all dangers, and with a blissful future, or he is weak and insecure, threatened with fears of dangers and of annihilation.

With good enough maternal care the renewed internalisations of supporting and approving objects can mitigate his sense of containing such grossly disapproving and savagely punishing objects. Thus he may grow to stand considerable frustration and pain without losing the feeling of being basically secure, and the adult capacity to stand strain without loss of good nature now has its beginnings. But it is inevitable that the very young child has to endure many painful frustrations - as every mother knows-and in his rages he will attribute these to his mother's malevolent neglect. It is thus inevitable that he internalises her now as malevolent and makes her a part of himself that is angry and neglectful towards himself. When he has a preponderance of such experiences his internal world creates for him a life of terror, and timidity. Just as a securely established good internalised mother can comfort him when he is lonely so that he can play the part of his own caring mother towards himself and his body, so a firmly established bad internalised mother will threaten him in his loneliness and he will play the part of his hating mother towards himself.

Although this short account is complex enough it is only a precis. An immense range of interactions are possible between different mothers and infants and what is experienced as specially good or bad is patterned by this variety. Moreover similar developments take place later with the father and later still with siblings, leading to a variety of objects in the interna] world. To describe these as supporting, stimulating, admiring this or that development, comforting and encouraging and good humoured as well as envious, crushing, admonishing and punishing is appropriate, but these are rather adult values. The truth is that these primary objects, both good and bad, are distorted by the young child's own levels of passions and primitive tastes. The earliest bad objects therefore bite and shout, devour and use teeth and nails and faeces and urine whereas good ones give milk and sweetmeats, cuddles and smiles and strength and bliss and soothing words.

Benign internal objects not merely support the individual throughout his life, and sustain his developments, achievements and his mental integration but the individual may identify with various aspects of them; thus he may acquire not only the capacity to view himself with benevolence but to view others in this way, and to grow the same strengths for loving as his objects. Conversely malign objects not only restrict and limit developments and achievements but can lead the individual not only to hatred of himself but to a hatred of life and of the others around him.

Freud's hypothesis about projection can now be used to explain another matter. In circumstances of repeated painful frustration the rageful infant may experience in fantasy a steadily terrifying internal mother so reinforced by painful experience and in such contrast to his good internalised mother that he resorts to a desperate defence. He may project the terrifying object and locate it outside himself. Thus he is left in mental peace to experience himself as possessed only by an idealised approving object. But the price is high. The external world is now felt to contain his terrifying object and thus phobias arise about perils in the world around him, and special avoidances are necessary which restrict his life.

By projection of his good internal objects the child may also believe that the world around him contains good external objects and he may have a confidence in their benevolence which is in fact unjustified. With increasing years and the development of a sense of reality he will come to recognise that externa] objects are not identical with the internal objects he projects onto them, but his early internal world, to the end of his days, will none-the-less influence his experience of the external world. Certain of the internal object relations are deeply repressed and deeply unconscious and therefore operate powerfully and unalterably. Others, not so unconscious, may become modified by the sense of reality and may lead to external relations in which the real identity of the other can be adapted to and respected and learned from. But the more deeply repressed internal objects are frequently projected, quite unconsciously, into external objects, so that family and social relations may then be based not on present reality but be dominated by old internal relations with early objects.

First the internal object can be used as a model for choosing people who will fit into it. The man who hated his overbearing mother and is unconsciously preoccupied with this relationship may choose a wife who is actually overbearing. He thus can experience the situation anew; it is not he who is crushing himself and ruining his own life by submissive attitudes; he is innocent - it is his wife who is the cause of his life's misery. Thus by projection he makes a mental conflict into a marital one. Second, the individual may, by his behaviour, coerce an external object to fit into the model of his internal object. The man who hated his overbearing mother may acquire a wife who is gentle and loving, but now by ignoring her gentleness, by steadily provoking her, and above all by projecting his overbearing mother into his wife, and so treating her as overbearing and by irritating her by his submis-siveness she may become overbearing. So he again may reproduce in the external world his early internal object relation; and again he can feel that the trouble is not in him but outside him. Such a process is easily observable in small therapeutic groups. The same kind of man might there be observed unconsciously provoking one or more female members to become overbearing toward him, by steadily projecting his internal object onto them and stimulating them with according submissiveness to turn against him- A third way whereby internal objects may be "reproduced" in the external world (of marriage and society) is by the process discovered by Melanie Klein and called projective identification. The others are used as containers for projections not simply of impulses or of internal objects but of unwanted parts of the self. The same kind of man as mentioned above, who is preoccupied by an internal relation with an overbearing mother might be observed in a group to create a situation where another man is forced to feel the hated submissiveness and is attacked by the women of the group. Thus by vicarious means the original internal relation is projected in its entirety, both the hated object and the unwanted part of the self.

I have used here only one internal object relation - fearful submission to an overbearing mother-as an example. There is of course an immense range of other possible internal relations, with objects felt to overwhelm, to choke, kill, seduce, castrate, hate, etc., etc., and responded to by fear, hatred, appeasement, cheating, flight, self-crippling, etc, etc.,; and projective processes may be used to rid the mind of any of these painful internal relations. Such matters lie at the heart of many disturbances of social relations; at work, at play, in marriage and in group relations. They create external troubles sometimes of a massively painful kind but they have a primitive benefit for the individual - pain and trouble with the external world is more tolerable than psychic pain. By splitting off and by disowning painful and unwanted impulses, internal objects or parts of the self, and by forcibly locating these in others, mental pains and terrors are lessened. It is true that mental integration is thereby damaged, that experience of the self is lessened, that impoverishment of the personality occurs, and that the painful relations are not lost but merely relocated, but the price is preferable to psychic pain. Another price needs mention however. In contrast to the relations which are largely reality based, in which the different identity of the other is accepted and with whom adaptation and learning can take place those external relations which mainly contain projective defences against deeply repressed internal relations are usually fixed and more or less unalterable. Certain painful marriages seem to be based essentially on mutual projection systems in which each partner uses the other as a container for unwanted and projected aspects of themselves. Thus they may come to hate (or to despise, envy, fear, etc.) the partner as if he or she were the unwanted part of the self. Such marriages are restricting, unrewarding, painful and immovable, because the couples rarely seek to part - for they are married not to people but essentially to parts of themselves which they need outside of themselves in order to maintain the defence of externalisation against mental pain. The price is high, in impoverishment of the personality and in failure to relate to and experience both the other and the self, as well as to family life; but it seems to be preferable to the pains of containing the original conflictual relation inside the self.

I have used the area of marriage to illustrate how projection process may be mutual; but newer studies also make apparent that such processes are inevitable in small and large groups and may decisively affect their functioning. Indeed the few psychoanalytic studies of industrial relations to date suggest that projective processes can limit not only individual health but behaviour, work relations, morale and productivity and create phenomena which puzzle, pain and frustrate people whose conscious wish is to work together. Projection and especially projective identification are thus more than a matter of individual psychology; they always affect the other and are therefore the stuff not merely of one-body psychology but of object relations, i. e. of two-body and multibody psychology. This is a long way from Freud's original hydrostatic and neuro-physiological thought-models about individuals and creates newer perspectives.

But what of the recipients of projection and projective identification? If the projects (impulses, internal objects or parts of the other) do not "fit" the recipient (i. e. if he has no personality features which render the "fit" plausible) he will feel discomfort at being unrealistically regarded- To avoid contention he may for a time try to agree with the other's opinions and treatment of him and act collusively and insincerely by being not quite himself. Thus he may tolerate for a time being regarded as more clever or stern or stupid or greedy or malicious than he truly is, but sooner or later by behaviour or protest he may seek to affirm his own nature and to show that he is misjudged and that the other's beliefs are not justified by fact. In psychoanalytical treatment we would of course try to show the patient what he is projecting and why, but in daily life this is not easily possible and sooner or later argument and contention is now unavoidable. Where projective identification is massive the recipient's plight is even worse for now he is coerced by subtle manipulations not only to act whole parts of the other but to own feelings which indeed are alien to him, and which may so confuse him that he becomes unsure of his capacities to think and feel truly as himself. When the psychoanalyst is able to see that his patient forces him into such a plight he will have the means of extricating himself from confusion realising what his patient is doing. But when this happens in marriages and in small groups and in industrial groups members find themselves only baffled, with their true selves unrecognised and unconfirmed by others and feel helplessly possessed by the alien roles and distresses forced into them. Where the recipient has a sure sense of his own identity and is relatively free within himself from the tendencies projected into him he may resist the projections of the others, but this is not easy, and in group life it is not difficult to note people frustrated and enraged through being entrapped in roles pressed onto them by others; the funny one, the trouble-maker, the self-seeker, the lazy one, the mean one, the understanding one, etc.

It is also easy to observe that many groups buy a spurious peace in the same way as do individuals; by projecting outside the group all bad objects. Now the group is innocent, good, worthy and idealises itself often with little reason. The bad is all outside in some other group (the headquarters, the rival organisation, the government, etc.). These outside groups are wholly bad: the in-group is wholly good. And the price is as high as ever; a weakened sense of reality, an inability to learn or to adapt or relate realistically, in dynamic ways, and a static inability to work on and mitigate the existing tensions.

Thus a new field - the analysis of the unconscious in group life lies before us.


In Child Analysis two of Freud's early clinical hypotheses have been: shown to be particularly important - the Internalisation of Parental Figures and Projection. Melanie Klein showed that the installation in the mind of early figures from the child's environment occurred on a much greater scale than was hitherto observed. The child's parents and earlier experiences at the breast are installed as a set of Internal Objects. These are not created, however, from external objects well perceived; the perceptions are distorted by the child's own moods of love and hate. Such distorted internal objects allow the child to feel massively pleased or displeased with itself when it is alone.

By projection the child attributes its impulses to external people and thus sees them as unrealistically benevolent or malevolent. Melanie Klein's further concept of projective identification has added to this; unwanted parts of its own self are projected into people in his environment. This distorts the child's view of others (personal psychology) but also leads others to alter their behaviour towards it (inter-personal psychology).

Internal objects and projective processes are vivid unconscious elements in inter-personal life and the significance of mutual projection processes in disturbances of small and large groups is described.

Psychoanalysis has three meanings; a technique for investigating the unconscious; the body of knowledge derived from that investigation; a method of treatment. The observations revealed by the technique have required ordering into adequate theory and as new observations have emerged so theory has required regular revision. And the same circular process of growth occurs as in all the sciences; that with theoretical advances the investigatory technique becomes sensitive to more subtle phenomena and so enlarges its field of observation.

The enlargement of the observational field to children's disorders, and the development of Child Analysis produced many new phenomena.

Two clinical hypotheses are selected for discussion - Internal Objects and Projection. With these two psychoanalysis becomes not merely an intra-personal but an inter-personal psychology. Some examples are given of the way in which inter-personal processes in marriages and in groups can be illumined by these treatment methods.

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