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Types of Depressive Affect

The two kinds of depressive affect are not talked about enough:

1. introjective: self-criticism, self-punitiveness and guilt. They ascribe their suffering to their own 'badness' (something they can try to control) and work hard to be "good" but find it difficult to succeed to their satisfaction.

2. anaclitic: sensitivity to loss and rejection, feelings of emptiness, inadequacy and shame. They feel empty, lonely, incomplete, helpless and weak rather than perfectionistic and excessively self-critical.

While sometimes both can be present, other times distinguishing between the two can help the clinician work with interpretative or relational aspects of psychotherapy.


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