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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Projective identification or relational introjection? Gender, metaphor, and theory.

Author: Gruber, Carolyn
Author Background:
Date 3/1/97
Type Journal
Journal Title: Clinical-Social-Work-Journal.
Volume/Pages Vol 25(1): 59-70
Subject Matter Gender Issues
Abstract Explores how gender-determined metaphors may influence theoretical constructs. A historical review of how the deconstruction of male metaphors has influenced changes in drive and structural theories is provided, and the influence of male metaphors on object relations theory is examined. Specifically, the construct of projective identification is explored in relation to inconsistencies in how it is conceptualized and how it is a construct more in keeping with a male model of development. The self-in-relation model of female development is explored in order to offer an alternative construction of similar clinical phenomena. Through a feminine metaphoric lens these phenomena could be seen as relational introjections. The latter conceptualization is also supported by early infant research and current literature on intersubjectivity in the therapeutic process. A case vignette is used to illustrate how a particular piece of therapeutic work could be conceptualized as either projective identification or relational introjection. ((c) 1999 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved)