Projective identification in groups

In the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) we use projective identification as a pathway for psychological change. We create connections and cohesion using the principles of sociometry and interpersonal neurobiology (Schore AN, 2021). When all group members are attuned to the central theme the whole group cooperates in carrying the projective identifications, processing the material and giving it back to the protagonist.

Background of projective identification.
Projective identification as pathology
Klein (1946) defined projective identification as a process wherein largely unconscious information is projected from the sender to the recipient. Originally, this mechanism was viewed as a primitive (pathological) early defense system. Over time, other theories and insights were developed.
The interpersonal approach is mainly represented by Ogden. He sees projective identification as an interpersonal process which is completed only when the projected material has been converted and returned.

Projective identification as communication
Ogden (1979, p357-373) describes the psychological process of projective identification.
As a defense, projective identification serves to create a sense of psychological distance from unwanted (often frightening) aspects of the self; as a mode of communication, projective identification is a process by which feelings congruent with one’s own are induced in another person, thereby creating a sense of being understood by or of being ‘at one with’ the other person.
As a pathway for psychological change, projective identification is a process by which feelings like those that one is struggling with, are psychologically processed by another person and made available for re-internalization in an altered form.

Klein M. (1946). Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 27:99-110.
Ogden, T. H. (1979). On projective identification. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 60(3), 357–373.
Schore AN (2021) The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Intersubjectivity. Front. Psychol. 12:648616. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.648616