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'And what rough beast?': Psychoanalytic thoughts on evil states of mind

Ivey, Gavin ORCID: 0000-0002-5537-3504 (2005) 'And what rough beast?': Psychoanalytic thoughts on evil states of mind. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 22 (2). pp. 199-216. ISSN 0265-9883

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Abstract

Evil is a concept traditionally alien to psychoanalytic discourse. Using a Kleinian framework it is argued that the term ‘evil states of mind’ usefully describes the experience of possession by a destructive personality suborganization founded on identification with a bad internal object. These states may be temporary and give rise to guilt and concern. In some cases, however, benevolent parts of the self are attacked and obliterated. The resulting loss is not experienced and mourned; instead perverse logic transforms it into a triumph. In this way the pain of loss and envy of the good possessed by others is denied, and psychic truth is replaced by perverse thinking in which good and bad are reversed. Satanic cults represent the pure organizational embodiment of the destructive subpersonality. Variants of evil states of mind are described with reference to psychotherapy patients and interviews with satanic cult members.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Online ISSN: 1752-0118

Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID22454. psychoanalysis, evil, demonic possession, subpersonality, destructive personality, Satanism, Satan, devil, dual personalities, destructive narcissism, dualism, Kleinian
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
FOR Classification > 2204 Religion and Religious Traditions
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2011 06:17
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2019 03:11
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/7691
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0118.2005.tb00276.x
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Citations in Scopus: 3 - View on Scopus

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