“Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them all?”

Fantasy and Reality Within Reflection

  • Susan Alldred-Lugton
Keywords: narcissism, fantasy, phantasy, projection, projective identification, transference, counter transference


This paper explores what is seen and what is not, or cannot be seen, within the therapeutic space, as exemplified by the process of what can be seen in the “mirror”, that is, in and through the eyes of the other. In doing so it draws on the concepts of projection and projective identification, as well as on literature in the form of Oscar Wilde’s (1890/2003) novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and on clinical practice. In linking theory and literature with examples from clinical practice, I examine what it may feel like to look different, and explain the tensions of being alongside others who look different, but who may have many shared, internal experiences to contribute to a relationship with someone, such as a psychotherapist, who, on the surface, appears different to them.


Ko tā tēnei tuhinga he wherawhera i te mea kitea me te mea ngaro, kore rānei e kitea, mai i te ātea haumanu, arā e tauirahia nei e te putanga kitea i roto i te “whakaata”, arā, i roto, ā, mai i ngā karu o tērā atu. Koia nei ka tōia mai ngā ariā whakaepa me te whakaepa tuakiri, i tua atu i ngā tuhituhinga pēnei i āhua o tā Oscar Wilde (1890/2003) waituhi, Te Whakaata o Tōriana Kerei, ā, me te whakawaia haumanu. Inā honoa te ariā me te tuhituhi mā ngā tauira mai i te mahi haumanu, ka whakamātauhia e au ka pēhea rā te rongo ki te rerekē te āhua, ka whakamārama ai i ngā maniore piritata atu ki ētahi rerekē ngā āhua, engari he maha tonu pea ngā wheako ō-rite hai hoatu ki tētahi whakapānga ki tahi tangata pēnei i tahi kaiwhakaora hinengaro, rerekē nei pea te āhua ki a rātou.

How to Cite
Alldred-Lugton, S. (2012). “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who is the Fairest of Them all?”: Fantasy and Reality Within Reflection. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 16(2), 201-216. https://doi.org/10.9791/ajpanz.2012.19