Document Detail

Demoniacal possession and psychoanalytic theory.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  623714     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Psychodynamic explanations of demoniacal possession have been based mainly on Freud's retrospective interpretation of the illness of Christoph Haitzman. Freud applied libido theory to his analysis of the case and subsequently influenced the psychoanalytic theory of paranoid symptom formation and the psychoanalytic approach to the psychoses. Fairbairn, and later Guntrip, applied an object relations theory to the case and conceptualized demoniacal possession in terms of bad internalized objects. They used the example of Haitzman to illustrate an object relations approach to the understanding and treatment of severely disturbed patients. In this paper the psychoanalytic treatment of a case of demoniacal possession is described to indicate the multiple dynamic meanings which possession may have and to demonstrate the necessity for integrating and applying aspects of libido and object relations theories. Current trends in psychoanalysis are towards recognizing the psychotic core which is frequently masked by an apparently psychoneurotic illness so that analysis must reach beyond oedipal conflicts to the primitive internalized object relations. A psychoanalytic study of demoniacal possession contributes much to the understanding of such patients but particularly to the conceptualization of borderline and psychotic states. It is in the treatment of these patients that the role of the psychotherapist is more akin to that of the exorcist.
G Taylor
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The British journal of medical psychology     Volume:  51     ISSN:  0007-1129     ISO Abbreviation:  Br J Med Psychol     Publication Date:  1978 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1978-04-17     Completed Date:  1978-04-17     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370640     Medline TA:  Br J Med Psychol     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  53-60     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Object Attachment
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / etiology*,  therapy
Psychoanalytic Theory*
Psychoanalytic Therapy
Regression (Psychology)
Transference (Psychology)

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