Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To go directly to an article using its bibliographical details…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

If you know the bibliographic details of a journal article, use the Journal Section to find it quickly. First, find and click on the Journal where the article was published in the Journal tab on the home page. Then, click on the year of publication. Finally, look for the author’s name or the title of the article in the table of contents and click on it to see the article.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

McLaughlin, J.T. (1991). Clinical and Theoretical Aspects of Enactment. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 39:595-614.

(1991). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 39:595-614

Clinical and Theoretical Aspects of Enactment

James T. McLaughlin, M.D.


Enactment as a concept can serve analytic discourse through its established meaning of an act intended strongly to influence, persuade, or force another to react. We might agree to use the term in two complementary ways:

Broadly, enactment can designate all behaviors of both parties in the analytic relationship, even verbal, in consequence of the intensification of the action intent of our words created by the constraints and regressive push induced by the analytic rules and frame. Patient and analyst are vulnerable to falling back on behaviors that actualize their intentions, doing so in ways motivated by and reflecting transference hopes, fears, and compromises shaped in their developmental past.

Specifically, enactment can then be defined as those regressive (defensive) interactions between the pair experienced by either as a consequence of the behavior of the other. While nominally an interpersonal perspective, this concept of enactment facilitates more balanced attention to the involvement of both parties and to the intrapsychic dynamics in both that specifically shape their interactions.

A clinical vignette illustrates the analyst's contributions to enactment, especially those reflecting his reactivated conflicts and their relation to his theoretical and technical preferences.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.