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

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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


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.

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Online ISSN: 1752-0118

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/7691
DOI 10.1111/j.1752-0118.2005.tb00276.x
Official URL http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-...
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2204 Religion and Religious Traditions
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords ResPubID22454. psychoanalysis, evil, demonic possession, subpersonality, destructive personality, Satanism, Satan, devil, dual personalities, destructive narcissism, dualism, Kleinian
Citations in Scopus 4 - View on Scopus
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