This article is published in the book:

"Psych 101 -
What you didn't learn in nursing school."

by Kathi Stringer
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0615193137

Star Trek and Projective Identification

Written by Kathi Stringer

See illustration / chart

The following is an analogy of Transference, Countertransference, Countertransference Management, Projective Identification, Projective Counteridentification, Introjective Identification, and the Container and the Contained.  The analogy is a spoof off Star Trek with the Client acting as the mysterious new Life Form and the USS Enterprise and Crew acting as the Treater when working with a BPD individual. 

Star Date: 2002 – Captain’s Log 4231: Recording of ship’s transcripts of an unknown life form in uncharted space.

Sulu: “Captain, there appears to be an unknown Life Form ahead.”

Captain Kirk: “Put it on screen Sulo [Treater visual assessment] and Spock, report.”

Spock: “I am picking up strange readings, it appears that we are being scanned Captain.” 
[client developing a transference]

Sulu: “The Life Form is beginning to change shape Captain, and it appears to be threatening."
[Client has developed a transference consisting of anger toward the Treater]

Captain Kirk: “Reverse engines, full impulse power, Scotty, give me all ya got”
[countertransference reaction]

Spock: “Captain, we are still being scanned, and the Life Form now resembles lethal anti-matter that could destroy this sector if it should converge with our dilithium crystals housed in the engine room."

Caption Kirk: “Raise shields and go to Red Alert!” 
[countertransference management]

Spock:  “Captain, the Life Form has fired a probe and will make contact right about…now!”

[attempt at projective identification]

Captain Kirk: “Damage Report!”

Sulu: “Our shields holding Captain.”

Spock: “The Life Form has fired another probe, and scanners show a slight configuration from the last probe, and will make contact….now!”

[another attempt at projective identification as the Client is looking for a weak spot in the Treater]

Sulu: “Shields down 20% and auxiliary power is ready to go on-line Sir.”

Spock: “Captain, the Life Form has fired another probe and it is configured once again.  Probe should make contact about …..”


**The Probe has made contact with the ship** 
[projective counteridentification]

Captain: “What’s happening”

Spock: “The Probe as penetrated our shields and I detect a strong surge of energy from the Probe taking command of the ship’s computer.”
[projective counteridentification is complete, the Client will now attempt to control the treater.]

Captain Kirk:  “Spock, what was that?  What happened!?”  I need answers and I need them fast!”

Spock: “Sir, the Probe has been configured to get past our shields and has attached itself to the haul of the ship.  The Probe has interfaced with our ships communications node and is reassigning our electronic parameters to that of the host Life Form that launched the Probe.”

Captain Kirk: “Spock! Is there anything we can do? Think of something!”

Spock: “Captain, most of the Ship’s database is infected and the control of the Ship is being redirected by the probe. Life support is at risk and the ship’s energy seems to dwindling away.  It is if an alien force has taken us over.” 
[confirmation of projective counteridentification onto the Treater]

Ship’s Computer: LIFE SUPPORT WARNING: “Ship’s oxygen 72% and decreasing”
[effects of projective counteridentification is miserable for the Treater]

Captain Kirk: “Spock! Talk to me! Think of something, we don’t have much time!”

Spock: “My analysis confirms a power surge in communication node C-32 on deck four from the alien probe.  We can reroute the Ship’s command and reinitialize the contaminated database to contain the projected energy radiating from the probe.  It seems Captain, that the probe is receiving instructions from the host Life Form.”

Captain Kirk: “Okay Spock, reinitialize and retake command of the Ship”
[Treater has identified and contained the projected object]

Sulu: “Sir, the Life Form shows signs of distress. Should we follow procedures as outlined in the Prime Directive?”

Captain Kirk: “You are absolutely right Sulo.  Spock, can you send the Probe back to the host Life Form with a message of good will from Star Fleet?”

Spock: “Yes Captain, now that we have contained the Probe we are able to detoxify and metabolize the opposing forces within the Probe.  We can modify the Probe’s circuits and offer something more attractive to the Life Form.”

Captain Kirk: “Do it Spock.  The quicker, the better.”

Scotty: “Captain, the modified Probe is ready to be launched.  Shall I proceed?”
[the projected object from the projective identification onto the Treater has been detoxified, modified and made into something more manageable for the Client.]

Captain Kirk: “Proceed Scotty. Spock, target the Life Form and the reuptake of the Probe.  Record activity into Ship’s log for Star Fleet."

[once modified, the Treater can offer a more attractive object to the Client for assimilation]

Spock:  “It appears Captain that the Life Form, has accepted and assimilated the Probe that we modified back into its core structure.” 
[introjective identification, the Client accepted the modified object]

Sulo:  “CAPTAIN!  Look!  The Life Form is changing!  It somehow looks less threatening…and…and…it looks….happy Sir?!”

Spock: “It appears Sir, that you have helped give birth to new Life Form.  Even though it cannot communicate, which is puzzling, it does seem to have a bit of…humanness?"
[the Client can now see the world as a better place in which to live]

Captain Kirk: “I think you are right about that Spock. Attention bridge, since we are going to be in this sector of space for a while, design and implement a system to address additional Probes from the Life Form. Perhaps over time and with each Probe we modify, we can offer a bit more of humanity to a race that does not understand us. “

Spock:  “Captain, what should we call the project?”

Captain Kirk: “Spock…lets call it……First Contact”

Star Date 200[*] -- Captain’s Log 4232 The threatening Life Form was able to penetrate our shields with a projected Probe.  The crew was able to contain and modify the Probe and fire it back to the Life Form.  First contact was successful.