Archetypal defenses in the clinical situation: a vignette

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Abstract

Critical moments along the path of an analysis are presented in order to illustrate how dreams portray archaic and typical (archetypal) defenses against the re-experience of unbearable affect as it emerges. Inner defensive ‘objects’ functioning as a ‘self-care system’ threaten to uproot, kill or destroy the connections between the dream ego and various images of vulnerability as these emerge in response to healing life events or transference feelings. Over a series of dreams, transformations within this self-care system are observed, ending in a final healing dream which marks the patient's achievement of a ‘depressive position’ in relation to her otherwise persecutory anxieties.

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