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Haynal, A. (1978). Some Reflexions on Depressive Affect. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 59:165-171.

(1978). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 59:165-171

Some Reflexions on Depressive Affect

André Haynal

In this paper I have tried to concentrate on the depressive affect as experienced, among others, in the psychoanalytic cure. Affects, which Freud considered of major importance (Freud, 1907) although he admitted we knew nothing of them (Freud, 1926), belong to the world of experience. They are apprehended by identifying with the Other and are understood once they are reinserted in the representational world and the 'discourse' of the analysand.

There is no doubt that depressive mood plays a considerable part among our affective states yet, paradoxically, its importance does not seem to have always been acknowledged. It appears to have been overshadowed by the importance justifiably given to anxiety, with the result that in the relationship anxietydepression the first of the two has been emphasized to the detriment of the other. This position of neglect, of which Abraham (1911) already complained, is even more paradoxical in that Freud himself was depressive (Jones, 1953); (Schur, 1972); his self-analysis, triggered by his father's death (Anzieu, 1975), resulted in a process of mourning whose main contribution was the Traumdeutung(Freud, 1900). However, it was only gradually that he could understand the nature of the process. The death theme present in the psychoanalytic experience of the death wish ('Todeswunsch') and in several sporadic remarks (e.g. Freud, 1910) was reconsidered when he was faced with separation, death, war—loneliness after his students had left for the front (e.

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