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Symington, N. (1985). Freud and the Mind: By Ilham Dilman. London: Basil Blackwell. 1984. Pp. 216.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 66:113-114.

(1985). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 66:113-114

Freud and the Mind: By Ilham Dilman. London: Basil Blackwell. 1984. Pp. 216.

Review by:
Neville Symington

A man who has an unconscious wish to hurt can never know it.

If the wish becomes conscious it is a different man who knows it.

Nowhere in his book does Ilham Dilman make this exact statement but a central concern of this work is to establish that a change in consciousness necessarily means a change in the identity of the subject and he demonstrates convincingly that this was Freud's own understanding though it is often obscured by his mechanistic and causal language. Dilman says,

In his Introductory Lectures, speaking about the 'inner change' which psycho-analytic therapy aims at, Freud says: 'A neurotic who has been cured has really became a different person, although at bottom of course he remains the same—this is, he has become his best self, what he would have been under the most favourable conditions'. He says that the analyst aims at bringing about such a change by 'making conscious the unconscious, removing repressions, filling in the gaps in memory'.

Freud does not equate this with self-knowledge. We have seen that the becoming conscious of what is unconscious is a change in the person. But the 'inner change' which Freud speaks of in the above passage goes beyond that. It is a change that involves the 'growth of the self'. Hence Freud's reference to 'what he (the neurotic) would have been under the most favourable conditions'—that is conditions which would not have thwarted or arrested his development.

When the ego engages in forcing away aspects of the self and thereby preventing development we have repression.

[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.]

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