The Experience of the Skin in Early Object Relations
This classic, highly condensed paper about the conditions that are necessary for Klein’s “splitting and idealization” to take place, was read to the 25th International Psychoanalytic Congress in Copenhagen in 1967 and has been extremely influential, especially regarding the understanding of two-dimensional features of personality structure. According to Shirley Hoxter, Bick intended it “as a preliminary communication only but she was never contented with attempts to expand it in later writings.” (Hoxter 1988, p. 103)
The central theme of this brief communication is concerned with the primal function of the skin of the baby and of its primal objects in relation to the most primitive binding together of parts of the personality not as yet differentiated from parts of the body. It can be most readily studied in psychoanalysis in relation to problems of dependence and separation in the transference.