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Segal, H. (1994). Phantasy and Reality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:395-401.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:395-401

Phantasy and Reality

Hanna Segal


To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Controversial Discussions the author has selected the interplay between phantasy and reality for further consideration. Basing her thinking on her reading of Klein and Freud she reviews her own contribution to symbolic forms of expression—the distinction between a symbol and a symbolic equation—which combine phantasy and reality and articulates this with the recent work of the philosopher Wollheim. She restates her argument that the early processes of symbol development and their pathological variations are analysable through an understanding of the patient's relationship to the analyst, offering as it does an opportunity to explore and analyse the influence of phantasy and reality in influencing how the patient perceives the analyst and acts towards her. This view is illustrated with material from several cases leading on to a discussion of the nature and function of phantasy, delusion formation and phantasy-testing leading to thought.

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