Splitting of the Mind and Unconscious Dynamics

Abstract

Freud and Breuer proposed the concept of splitting of the mind and described it in various clinical cases and the concept was later developed in studies by Klein, Kohut, Kernberg and others. These basic clinical findings were also confirmed by later studies using Rorschach projective test documenting that splitting in mental structures may be observed in phantasies and associations reflecting cognitive and affective contents related to conflicting interpretations of objects, other persons and the self. Altogether these data indicate that splitting represents a specific form of dissociation resulting from a conflict that leads to splitting of the ego and other parts of the psychic apparatus into separated subsystems. In this context, splitting and dissociation do not mean different terms even they are used in different contexts for description of specific conditions that may occur in various mental disorders.

References

  1. Berg, J.L. (1990). Differentiating ego functions of borderline and narcissistic personalities. Journal of Personality Assessment, 55, 537–48.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Biais, M.A., Hilsenroth, M.J., Fowler, J.C., & Conboy, C.A. (1999). A Rorschach exploration of the DSM-IV Borderline Personality Disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 563–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Cooper, S., Perry, J., & Arnow, D. (1988). An empirical approach to the study of defense mechanisms: I. Reliability and preliminary validity of the Rorschach defense scales. Journal of Personality Assessment, 52, 187–203.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Fowler, J.C., Hilsenroth, M.J., & Nolan, E. (2000). Exploring the inner world of self-mutilating borderline patients: a Rorschach investigation. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 64, 365–85.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Freud, S. & Breuer, J. (1895). Studies on hysteria. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological works of Sigmund Freud, 2: 48–106.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Freud, S. (1912). A note on the unconscious in psychoanalysis. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological works of Sigmund Freud, 12.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Freud, S. (1940). Splitting of the ego in the process of defence. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological works of Sigmund Freud, 23: 271–278.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Fuchs, T. (2007). Psychopathology, Fragmented Selves: Temporality and Identity in Borderline personality Disorder. Psychopathology, 40, 379–387.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Glassman, M. B. (1986). Splitting: Further contributions to the development of a measure, Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42(6).

    Google Scholar 

  10. Grala, C. (1980). The concept of splitting and its manifestations on the Rorschach test. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 44, 253–271.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Janet, P. (1989). L’Automatisme psychologique, Fõlix Alcan, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Kernberg, O.F. (1975). Borderline Conditions and Pathological Narcissism. New York, A Jasona Aronson Book.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Klein, M. (1940). Mourning and its Relation to Manic-Depressive states. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 21, 125–153.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Klein, M. (1950). On the Criteria for the Termination of an Analysis. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 31, 204.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Klein, M. (1952). The mutual influences in the development of ego and id. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 7, 51–53.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Kohut, H. (1966). Forms and transformations of narcissism, Journal of American Pychoanalytic Association, 14. 243–272

  17. Kohut, H. (1971). The analysis of the self. New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Leichsenring, F. (1999). Splitting: an empirical study. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 63, 520–37.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Marmar, C.H. R. & Horowitz M. J. (1986). Phenomenological Analysis of Splitting, Psychotherapy. Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute, 9, 21–29.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Lerner, P., & Lerner, H. (1980). Rorschach assessment of primitive defenses in borderline personality structure. In: L. Kwawer, A. Sugarman, P. Lerner, & H. Lerner (Eds.), Borderline phenomena and the Rorschach test (pp. 257–274). New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Siegel, J. P. (2006). Dyadic Splitting in Partner Relational Disorders. Journal of Family Psychology, 20, 418–422.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Singer, M.T., & Larson., D.G. (1981). Borderline personality and the Rorschach test. Archives of General Psychiatry, 38, 693–698.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Smith, K. (1980). Object relations concepts as applied to borderline level of ego functioning. In: J. Kwawer, A. Sugarman, P. Lerner, & H. Lerner (Eds.), Borderline phenomena and the Rorschach test (pp. 59–87). New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Sugarman, A. (1980). The borderline personality organization as manifested on psychological tests. In: J. Kwawer, A. Sugarman, P. Lerner, & H. Lerner (Eds.), Borderline phenomena and the Rorschach test (pp. 39–58). New York: International Universities Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Westen, D. (1991). Social Cognition and Object Relations. Psychological Bulletin, 3, 429–455.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Terezie Jiraskova.

Rights and permissions

Open Access  This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder.

To view a copy of this licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Jiraskova, T. Splitting of the Mind and Unconscious Dynamics. Act Nerv Super 56, 24–27 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03379604

Download citation

Key words

  • Dissociation
  • Splitting
  • Unconscious Dynamics
  • Mental Activity