Paranoid-schizoid position

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Paranoid-schizoid position

Post by sgns » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:11 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:23 pm
Does anyone have thoughts on how and whether:

- Some people never outgrow the paranoid-schizoid position?
- Some people regress back to the paranoid-schizoid position?
- A biological adult might function or behave, if operating exclusively from the paranoid-schizoid position?
Hi Paul,

One reason for Klein's word choice of "position" is to distinguish from clearcut developmental "stages" (i.e., Freud's psychosexual stages of development, etc.).

Klein “adopted the term ‘position’…to get away from the idea of stages or phases of development, which she had shown were not clear-cut but overlapping and fluctuating” (from R.D. Hinselwood's Dictionary of Kleinian Thought)

When I was studying this stuff, I preferred Thomas Ogden's spin. Ogden is a contemporary psychoanalyst. From an unpublished paper I wrote (but I can share it if you'd like):

Ogden is somewhat (but not entirely) unique in his understanding of each position, including the new one he proposes, “as a developing and ongoing mode of generating experience as opposed to a phase of development…[and each position] as contributing equally powerfully to the dialectic constituting human experience” (p. 127). Thus as discussed previously in other ways, Ogden does not necessarily see the positions as indicative of sequential development, from some “primitive” state to a secondary (and then tertiary) one. Rather, he (Ogden) views the various positions as continuously contributing to “human experience” (1989, p. 127) throughout the course of one’s life.

The book to read for Thomas Ogden is This Art of Psychoanalysis.

Otto Kernberg is another contemporary psychoanalyst heavily influenced by Klein (and also influenced by Margaret Mahler and Freud), who writes about splitting, etc. Kernberg tends to be much more diagnostic and you could say authoritarian in tone; Ogden is much more a humanist who writes beautifully. Both are brillant. For secondary explanations of Klein, you might also check out Hanna Segal, who you could say was Klein's protege, and brings great deal of clarity to her writing.

Hope that helps!

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