Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 73 Issue 3 (September 2000), Pages 289-432

Ogden's matrix of transference and the concept of sign (pages 385-397)

Ogden's concept of the matrix of transference as the inter‐subjective basis in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis is examined by using the notion of sign‐mediated activity. After an introduction to the concept of activity, Ogden's account of the autistic‐contiguous position and his restatement of the Kleinian paranoid‐schizoid and depressive positions as the three fundamental modes of generating psychic content are presented. Each is then examined as a specific kind of sign‐mediated activity where the semiotic register that mediates the ways events are construed determines the particular qualities of the position. It is argued that the ambiguities in Ogden's conception of the three positions that make up the matrix of transference arise from the lack of a distinct semiotic theory accounting for the intersubjective basis of symbol formation and communication.

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