In this landmark work on object relations, Dr. Jill Savage Scharff addresses the psychological processes of projective and introjective identification and countertransference. She carefully traces the debates about projective identification_the neurotic versus psychotic arguments and the intrapsychic versus interpersonal views. She holds that disagreements stem from unrecognized shifts in meaning of the term identification and unacknowledged differences of opinion as to where the identification takes place. For her, projective identification is an umbrella term for phenomena that can affect the self, the object inside the self, and the external object. Dr. Scharff brings fresh insight to the neglected concept of introjective identification and a new understanding of the therapeutic action of projective and introjective identification. The book's unique distinction is in the author's integration of object relations theory and practice, particularly with regard to the handling of countertransference. The clinical material is written in the vivid and personally candid style that is a hallmark of her work. Dr. Scharff demonstrates how to understand and utilize projective and introjective identification, making this work indispensable for every dynamically oriented therapist.
Most welcome of all for the reader is Dr. Scharff's ability to write with both liveliness and clarity. Her admirably scholarly review of relevant literature is distilled, for the reader, in readily understandable terms, as she enables us to follow the development of her authentically original views concerning projective and introjective identification_views based in part on the contributions of earlier writers, but in larger part on her own clinical experiences with patients in diverse treatment settings. Dr. Jill Scharff is an immensely creative clinician and writer who will, I am sure, illuminate other readers' lives and work as she has illuminated, for me, my own life and work.--Harold Searles