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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021


Psychoanalytic theory has taught us that one and the same behaviour can have very different meanings. The Developmental Profile is a research method which is capable of making those differences visible. This is done by drawing up an inventory of the habitual behaviour of individuals or collectives, and characterizing them on the basis of ten so-called Developmental Levels. These Developmental Levels represent various experiential worlds, each with its own specific way of thinking, feeling and acting. Six of them refer to immature and now dysfunctional behaviour, and four to mature, adaptive ways of functioning. The central themes of the six maladaptive Developmental Levels are 'Lack of structure', 'Fragmentation, 'Egocentricity', 'Symbiosis', 'Resistance', and 'Rivalry'. The four adaptive Developmental Levels are 'Individuation', 'Solidarity', 'Generativity', and 'Maturity'. In this way, the Developmental Profile can serve as a strength/weakness analysis of human functioning. In the case of problematic functioning, the maladaptive levels provide an indication of the nature of the problem. The functioning on the adaptive levels provide an indication of the possible ways of solving these problems. In the presentation we will take a closer look at the various forms of competitive behaviour that can be identified by means of the Developmental Profile. The Developmental Profile has been designed for clinical usage, in particular for indication for psychoanalytic treatment. (Abraham cs. 2001, Abraham & van Dam 2004). It has also been used for individual coaching and consultation (van de Loo & Abraham 2005). Recently we have initiated as a new field of application, the analysing of the functioning of organizations. By way of illustration, an individual-oriented and an organization-oriented consultation are presented. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the possibilities and limitations of the Developmental Profile in consultation. References Abraham, R.E, Van H.L, van Foeken I, Ingenhoven Th.J.M, Tremonti, W, Pieper de Vries I, de Groot, J, van 't Spijker A, Spinhoven Ph. (2001) The Developmental Profile. Journal of Personality Disorders 15 (5), 457-473 Abraham, R, van Dam, Q. (2004) The Developmental Profile: Its use in establishing indications for psychoanalytic treatment. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 68.2.115-136.Van de Loo, E, Abraham.R. (2005) Coaching and consultation: applications of the Developmental Profile. (Coaching en consultatie: toepassingsmogelijkheden van het Ontwikkelingsprofiel.) In: 'Het Ontwikkelingsprofiel in de Praktijk' (Applications of the Developmental Profile.) R.Abraham, editor. Assen (Nederland) Van Gorcum.