Where early trauma, overwhelming to the immature ego and not able to be processed, has

featured, the young person subjected to it has often been left with early body-centred

defences as a way of blocking out the primitive anxieties of annihilation, abandonment,

disintegration, falling endlessly and merging. In the therapy room, consequently, we

encounter in the patient the capacity to act in and out, and experience a counter-

transference pressure to collude with the defence, to act ourselves or to become a harsh

and critical superego-ish object. As Winnicott notes:

the analyst must expect to find acting-out in the transference, and must

understand the significance of this acting-out, and be able to give it

positive value.