On leaving the scene: Processing projective identification and the schizoid experience

Karen Hansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Countertransference reactions of sleepiness and disinterest in the clinical material being presented by patients can be annoying and confusing. This paper presents a theoretical framework for understanding the author's countertransference with Borderline patients in the schizoid continuum of borderline pathology, according to a classification scheme from Meissner (1984). In the case example presented projective identification and several interpretations of its meaning are reviewed and linked with the author/therapist's experience of sleepiness in the session. The understanding and containment of these projections, as well as interpretations offered to the patient, allowed for a successful resolution to the treatment. Implications for other cases with similar character structure are discussed with emphasis on the therapists using their subjective experience of sleepiness to understand their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Social Work Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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