Tuesday, February 4th, 2003, 8:00 PM

THE IMAGINER AND THE IMAGINED

author: Lucy LaFarge, M.D.
discussant: Otto Kernberg, M.D.

The author argues that the analysis of patients for whom narcissistic conflicts are central is deepened by a focus on a fantasy structure which she calls the transference of the imaginer and the imagined. This transference is made up of a group of largely unconscious fantasies of the way parent and child interact to construct a view of reality. Because analyst and patient are always involved together in constructing a view of the patient's psychic and external reality, the transference of the imaginer and the imagined is present in all analyses. However, this transference is particularly important for patients with narcissistic pathology. For narcissistic patients, fantasies of the imaginer and the imagined are highly distorted, and the enactment in transference and countertransference of primitive fantasies concerning the construction of reality distorts the process of construction that takes place between analyst and patient. In addition, primitive fantasies of the imaginer and the imagined serve defensive functions for narcissistic patients, warding off higher level transferences. Clinical material is presented to illustrate the nature of these transferences and the deepening that occurs when they are analyzed and interpreted.