The Schizoid Problem

Professor Don Carveth addresses the ‘schizoid problem’ in this talk, looking at the common difficulty of patients who struggle with intimacy and display a sense of remoteness and withdrawal from relationships. Prof Carveth looks at theories around the etiology of these difficulties. He focuses first on theorists who look at the idea that patients have suffered early deprivation on a relational level, and subsequently experience a sense of emptiness and trouble relating, and the implications for therapy as a space of mirroring, attunement and close relating which can address past deprivations. He then goes on to looking at the role of aggression and the hostile superego, drawing on Freudian and Kleinian thought. This aspect can often be missed in patients who display a kind of retreat from relationships, and Prof Carveth suggests that it is essential to address this if these patients are to get better. This talk also offers a useful reflection on the intersection between more relational approaches, and traditional psychoanalytic approaches, and where both can contribute in offering intervention to patients. 

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