Herbert Rosenfeld: British psychoanalyst (1910 - 1986)
peoplepill id: herbert-rosenfeld
1 views today
1 views this week
Herbert Rosenfeld
British psychoanalyst

Herbert Rosenfeld

Herbert Rosenfeld
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro British psychoanalyst
A.K.A. Herbert Alexander Rosenfeld
Was Psychoanalyst Psychiatrist
From Germany United Kingdom
Field Healthcare
Gender male
Birth 2 July 1910, Nuremberg
Death 29 November 1986, London (aged 76 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Herbert Alexander Rosenfeld was a British psychoanalyst. He was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1910 and died in London in 1986.
Rosenfeld made seminal contributions to Kleinian thinking on psychotic and other very ill patients; while his emphasis on the role of the analyst in contributing to potential impasses in the analytic encounter has had a wide impact on analysts both in Britain and internationally.


With a medical diploma from Munich (1934), Rosenfeld emigrated to Britain in 1935, where he retook his medical degree. He became a psychiatrist and specialised in the psychoanalytic treatment of psychosis. Analyzed by Melanie Klein, he himself became an analyst in 1945 and continued to work within the Kleinian movement, alongside such figures as Wilfred Bion and Hanna Segal. Among his most significant contributions were his groundbreaking exploration of projective identification; the development of the concept of "confusion"; and the foundation of a theory of destructive narcissism, since taken up and developed by André Green and Otto Kernberg.

On "confusion"

Rosenfeld saw confusion as a half-way house between splitting and reintegration, either as a progressive step towards the latter, or as a regression from it. In its negative aspect, according to Hanna Segal, "a most powerful element in confusion is envy...Narcissistic organisation protects us from that confusion".

Destructive narcissism

Rosenfeld played a leading part in the work of Kleinians on the destructive aspects of narcissism. For Rosenfeld, "destructive narcissism...is directed against the libidinal ties or bonds of the self to the object".

The concept of what Rosenfeld termed "narcissistic omnipotent object relations" - a state of mind dominated by an internal object merging ego and ego ideal in a form of mad omnipotence - was later to feed into Kernberg's notion of the pathologically grandiose self

Analytical impasse

Rosenfeld's final work, Impasse and Interpretation (1987), focused on the possibility of the overcoming of critical moments of impasse with difficult patients. Rosenfeld was increasingly convinced that such potentially destructive impasses were predicated on the existence of blind spots in the analyst, thus pointing the way for the later developments of intersubjective psychoanalysis.

While for some analysts, the negative therapeutic reaction is an insurmountable block, Rosenfeld attempts to show that these "dead ends" are moments that can and should be overcome. Using the concept of envy to shed light on analytic impasse, Rosenfeld maintained that while patients may in some ways prefer to resist change rather than allow the analyst to help them, if handled innovatively, such stalemates may allow patients to bring back to life for their analyst the impasses they subjectively lived at key moments in their development.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Search trend
comments so far.
From our partners
Sections Herbert Rosenfeld

arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes