Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Projection, Introjection, and Projective Identification: A Reformulation


In this essay, the author recommends a reformulation of the psychoanalytic concept of pojection. The author proposes that projective processes are not merely defensive maneuvers that interfere with perception, but rather an essential means by which human perception is rendered possible. It is the manner in which human beings test and-evaluate reality in terms of their experiential structure, and their needs for survival and nourishment. Projection is the early phase of introjection.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Author information

Correspondence to Joseph M. Malancharuvil.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Malancharuvil, J.M. Projection, Introjection, and Projective Identification: A Reformulation. Am J Psychoanal 64, 375–382 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11231-004-4325-y

Download citation


  • projection
  • introjection
  • projective identification
  • unconscious phantasy
  • experiential structure