ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 614-620.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00614

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Three Diversions of Projective Identification: Connotative Evolution and Conceptual Comparison

CHEN Jinxiao1,2; CHEN Wei2,3   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China) (2 Department of Psychology, Shaoxing University, Shaoxing 312000, China) (3 Center for Language and Cognition Research, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China)
  • Received:2014-08-24 Online:2015-04-15 Published:2015-04-15
  • Contact: CHEN Wei, E-mail:


The concept of projective identification was originated from the work of Freud, but was given a specific name and definition by Melanie Klein. After that, the leaders of the Klein Group such as Bion, Rosenfield and Grotstein described, developed, and modified it in different aspects. This paper suggests that the connotative evolution goes through three diversions: from unilateral projection to bilateral communication; from inner fantasy to real exchange; from maternal-child relationship to consultation relationship. The projective identification can be seen as a more sophisticated mechanism than the projection, and the differences between the transference and the projective identification can be seen in aspects of the origin, content and result. In recent years, the rise of neuropsychoanalysis and the discovery of mirror neurons give support to the projective identification in the aspect of neuroscience.

Key words: projective identification, projection, transference, neuropsychoanalysis