The paper is based on Freud’s unsystematic comments on the significance of primary identification. They range from the "earliest and original form of emotional tie" to "an individual’s first and most important identification, his identification with the father of his own personal prehistory" to his notes of 12 June 1938 on "Having and being in children". Fenichel and Gaddini emphasised the proximity to imitation, Fenichel the one to mimicry. Anna Freud, Cameron and McGhie as well as Kristeva and Loch, the restitutive character in severe pathology. The link between primary identification and sensory apperception is owed to the work of Sandler and Sandler, Amati-Mehler and Ogden. Wolfgang Loch’s reference to a comparability of ego-ideal and Kant’s transcendental subject requires further clarification. Mirror neurones form a neurobiological correlate of primary identification, alluded to by Freud in the anticipated mimesis in his paper on jokes, a concept by Benjamin and Adorno complement psychoanalytical ideas on primary identification. Some aspects of three case vignettes demonstrate the clinical relevance of primary identification. The diversity of projective identification is emphasised. In contrast, there is a comparability between primary identification and Grunberger’s concept of the monad.
Keywords: Primary identification, imitation, sensorial, being the object, having the object