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Katan, M. (1979). Further Exploration of the Schizophrenic Regression to the Undifferentiated State—A Study of the 'Assessment of the Unconscious'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 60:145-174.

(1979). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 60:145-174

Further Exploration of the Schizophrenic Regression to the Undifferentiated State—A Study of the 'Assessment of the Unconscious'

Maurits Katan

The 'Assessment of the Unconscious' forms the seventh chapter of Freud's article 'The Unconscious' (1915a). In this chapter Freud examines the symptom of schizophrenic language changes, bringing to the fore that the words used by the schizophrenic patient frequently bear a relationship to body organs and body sensations. In addition, these words are subjected to primary-process thinking. The presence of this form of thinking points to the existence of a regressive process through which the functioning of the unconscious becomes directly observable. This phenomenon therefore has all the earmarks of offering an excellent opportunity for further exploration of the role of the regressive process in schizophrenia.

Freud based his theoretical approach upon Abraham's (1908) article about the differences between hysteria and schizophrenia. At that time Abraham was still in the beginning of his analytic development and had been guided toward his findings by both verbal and written suggestions from Freud. Freud (1911a) had worked out his ideas independently in his study of Schreber's psychosis. It was Freud's (1911b) conviction that the process of repression was responsible for the formation of the neurotic as well as the schizophrenic symptomatology. Thus it could happen that he published his first metapsychological concept of repression, not, as one might expect, in relation to a neurosis but instead to Schreber's psychosis. Freud concluded that a primary repression is followed by the repression proper, which has the task of maintaining the repression.

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