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Extra resources for Making Sense of Social Work: Psychodynamics, Systems and Practice
In other words, the unacceptable feeling (for instance jealousy or anger) is disowned and attributed to someone else who may then be attacked as a result. This sometimes takes the form of surrendering one's own impulses or wishes to another person and then encouraging that person to fulfil them, thus gaining a vicarious gratification. Examples here might be people who get extremely aggressive for someone else's good cause, or people with anorexia who are notoriously successful at catering for other people's culinary desires.
Conclusion This chapter has traced one line of development from Freud's predominantly intrapsychic model to a more open object-relations model of human functioning which connects the inner and outer worlds of human experience and which begins to do justice to both intrapsychic and interpersonal phenomena. The concepts of transference, countertransference and projective identification help us to identify certain interpersonal processes which have a crucial bearing not only on psychotherapy but on all close encounters, especially those of a helping kind.
In particular it is a natural extension of Fairbairn's notion that people whose inner worlds are closed systems can only relate to external objects as if they were internal ones. Although Dicks does not use the term 'closed system' it seems natural to apply it to the types of pathological relationship he describes, in contrast to 'healthy' relationships which can be viewed as relatively 'open' systems. Of course we are dealing here with a spectrum of relationships rather than with simple 'types'.