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Ornstein, P.H. Ornstein, A. (1994). On the Conceptualisation of Clinical Facts in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:977-994.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:977-994

On the Conceptualisation of Clinical Facts in Psychoanalysis

Paul H. Ornstein and Anna Ornstein


After defining 'facts', 'clinical facts' and 'psychoanalytic clinical facts' the authors describe their conceptualisations of these facts from experience-near to experience-distant levels. They maintain that psychoanalytic clinical facts are jointly created by patient and analyst and are to a great degree dependent on the analyst's mode of observation and theory. They illustrate the various levels of conceptualisation within the broad outlines of self psychology with three detailed clinical vignettes from the analysis of Mr K. A starting central question in the authors' minds arises out of their focus on the patient's selfobject transference (in this instance a mirror transference), hence on the function they serve for the patient in this transference; the role he assigns to them in the restoration and maintenance of the cohesiveness of the self. It is the recognition of this function that serves as the basis for their conceptualisation of the patient's psychopathology as well as the curative process of his analysis.

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