Psychic sadomasochism in four contemporary depth psychology formulations: A comparative analysis

Jane Meyerson Brodwyn (2000)

The elucidation and differentiation of four contemporary depth psychology formulations of what is termed psychic sadomasochism is the essence of the project reported on here. Dialectical analysis, following Greenberg and Mitchell (1983), is the comparative method applied. The concept of subject/object relations forms the central organizing principle through which the dialectic among the four theories are observed. Through this analysis of different theoretical approaches to psychic sadomasochistic phenomena (and their implicit interpersonal aspects) a map-mosaic, inherent with paradoxical tensions, is created. This map-mosaic is offered to enable the field of psychology to better understand these four divergent conceptualizations of sadomasochistic phenomena and their roots in and relationship to alternative streams of thought in depth psychology. Through the work of this study clarity around the concept and the phenomena of psychic sadomasochism is furthered.