Click here to download

Psychic skin: psychotic defences, borderline process and delusions
Author/s: Martin Schmidt, Emanuela Pasquarelli 
Year:  2017 Issue: 45 Language: Italian 
Pages:  20 Pg. 61-80 FullText PDF:  216 KB
DOI:  10.3280/JUN2017-045004
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 

In this paper, I apply the concept of psychic skin to analytic work with people suffering from personality disorders and psychoses. When psychoses emerge, the defensive skin which protects the ego is breached and violent unconscious forces rip through the personality. Some of the patients diagnosed as schizophrenic with whom I work have identified with archetypal characters such as Christ, Satan, John Lennon and the Queen. I attempt to show how the adoption of these inflated personas can serve as secondary psychic skins. Such delusional identifications can provide a protective shield to hide the denuded self and prevent intrusion from the external world. Through clinical example, I try to demonstrate how these archetypal "second skins" can preserve life until internal and external conditions make it possible for the self to emerge. I contrast such psychotic identifications with "thin-skinned" and "thick-skinned" narcissism as well as "defences of the self" in borderline states where the psychic skin may be damaged but does not disintegrate. I also look at the ways in which Jung’s own personal experience was different from this and how he managed to avert psychotic breakdown.
Keywords: Archetypal identification, art therapy, inflated persona, liminality, schizophrenia, self harm, shame

  1. Anzieu D. (1989). Le Moi-Peau. Paris: Dunod (trad. it. L’Io pelle. Roma: Borla, 1994).
  2. Bacelle L. (1993). Working with psychotic patients. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 38, 13–22. DOI 10.1111/j.1465-5922.1993.00013.x
  3. Bateman A., Fonagy P. (2006). Mentalization-Based Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder: A Practical Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Bick E. (1968). The experience of the skin in early object relations. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:484–86.
  5. Bion W.R. (1957). Differentiation of the psychotic from the non-psychotic personalities. In: Second Thoughts. New York: Jason Aronson (trad. it. Riflettendoci meglio. Roma: Astrolabio, 2016).
  6. Bion W.R. (1962). A theory of thinking. In: Second Thoughts. New York: Jason Aronson (trad. it. Riflettendoci meglio. Roma: Astrolabio, 2016).
  7. Britton R. (2003). Sex, Death and the Superego. London: Karnac Books.
  8. Colman W. (2005). Sexual metaphor and the language of unconscious phantasy. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50, 5: 641–60. DOI 10.1111/j.0021-8774.2005.00562.x
  9. Edinger E. (1974). Ego and Archetype. Baltimore: Penguin.
  10. Fordham M. (1985). Defences of the self. In: Explorations into the Self. London: Karnac Books (trad. it. Esplorazione del Sé. Roma: Ma.Gi, 2004).
  11. Freud S. (1915). Das Unbewusste (trad. it. L’inconscio. In: Opere, vol. 8. Torino: Boringhieri, 1976).
  12. Freud S. (1922). Das Ich und das Es (trad. it. L’Io e l’Es. In: Opere, vol. 9. Torino: Boringhieri, 1977).
  13. Jaffé A., a cura di (1961). Erinnerungen, Träume, Gedanken von C.G. Jung. Zürich: Rascher Verlag (trad. it. Ricordi, sogni, riflessioni di C.G. Jung. Milano: Il Saggiatore, 1965).
  14. Jung C.G. (1929). Letters to James Kirsch. In: Adler G., Jaffé A., eds., C.G. Jung Letters, vol. 2. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1975.
  15. Jung C.G. (1934/54). Über die Archetypen des kollektiven Unbewussten (trad. it. Gli archetipi dell’inconscio collettivo. In: Opere, vol. 9/1. Torino: Boringhieri, 1980).
  16. Jung C.G. (1955/56). Mysterium coniunctionis (trad. it. Mysterium Coniunctions. In: Opere, vol. 14. Torino: Boringhieri, 1989).
  17. Jung C.G. (1958). Schizophrenia (trad. it. La schizophrenia. In: Opere, vol. 3. Torino: Boringhieri, 1972).
  18. Killick K., Schaverien J., eds. (1997). Art, Psychotherapy and Psychosis. London and New York: Routledge.
  19. Lucas R. (2009). The Psychotic Wavelength. East Sussex and New York: Routledge.
  20. Michels R. (2003). The relationship between psychoanalysis and schizophrenia by Richard Lucas. A commentary. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 84, 1: 9-12. DOI. 10.1516/9WLM-6R1H-L3CC-ET00
  21. Rosenfeld H.A. (1954). Notes on the psychopathology and psycho-analytic treatment of Schizophrenia. In: Psychotic States: A Psychoanalytic Approach. New York: International Universities Press (trad. it. Sati psicotici. Un approccio psicoanalitico. Roma. Armando, 1973).
  22. Searles H. (1963). Collected Papers on Schizophrenia and Related Subjects. London: Maresfield Library (trad. it. Scritti sulla schizophrenia. Torino: Boringhieri, 1974).
  23. Schmidt M. (2005). Individuation: finding oneself in analysis. Taking risks and making sacrifices. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50, 5: 595-616. DOI 10.1111/j.0021-8774.2005.00560.x
  24. Shorter B. (1988). An Image Darkly Forming: Women and Initiation. London: Routledge.
  25. Symington J. (1985). The survival function of primitive omnipotence. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66: 481-87.
  26. Tustin F. (1972). Autism and Childhood Psychosis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul (trad. it. Autismo e psicosi infantile. Roma: Armando, 1993).
  27. Williams M. (1963). The Indivisibility of the personal and collective unconscious. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 8, 1: 45-50. DOI 10.1111/j.1465-5922.1963.00045.x
  28. Winnicott D. (1964). Review of Memories, Dreams, Reflections. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 45: 450-55.

Martin Schmidt, Emanuela Pasquarelli, Psychic skin: psychotic defences, borderline process and delusions in "STUDI JUNGHIANI" 45/2017, pp. 61-80, DOI:10.3280/JUN2017-045004


FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content