A Short Description of Modern Psychoanalysis - Page 2
Pre-verbal conflict has always been harder to get to. Let me compare it to a pediatrician or a veterinarian who must work with their patients without the assistance of the patients having language. Narcissistic conflict is conflict that entered the realm of the ego at a time in the patient's life prior to their having acquired sufficient language skills to tend to the wound.
Where in the classical field of psychoanalysis, the mechanisms of defense were established with the assistance of a language-oriented ego, in modern psychoanalysis, the research was confined to those narcissistic injuries that occurred in the pre-verbal organism.
The most familiar of the narcissistic defenses are hopelessness and compliance. Because language-based interventions could not reach the pre-verbal wound, techniques evolved where emotional communication, rather than insight, was provided to the patient. In this way, modern psychoanalysis added to the field of classical analysis by providing a royal road into the deeper, more recalcitrant conditions. Resistance analysis by studying drives and resistances to drive concentrated on the psycho-social aspects of aggression rather than on the psycho-social aspects of libido.
In the next installment of this review of modern psychoanalysis, I will explore the meaning of the narcissistic defense and its role in the development of the narcissistic and borderline personalities.