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Spillius, E.B. (1996). Panel Report: The Concept Of Psychic Reality In The Different Theoretical Currents Of Today: Chaired by ARNOLD COOPER, New York. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:85-87.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:85-87

Panel Report: The Concept Of Psychic Reality In The Different Theoretical Currents Of Today: Chaired by ARNOLD COOPER, New York

Elizabeth Bott Spillius

The Chairman invited each panellist to give a brief outline of his views on the topic of psychic reality.

The first panellist, Servulo Figueira, stated that psychic and material reality are not comparable. He outlined the (in his view) mistaken position of Freud and Melanie Klein on this issue, paying tribute to the work of Ferenczi, which, in spite of its shortcomings, stressed that the fundamental opposition is not between psychic and material reality but between the psychic reality of the subject and the psychic reality of the object.

The second panellist, Marilia Aisenstein, outlined her view that the physical body (the soma) can only be known through the psychical body (the libidinal body), and briefly discussed the way ‘psychosomatic’ patients use hypercathexis of the physical body to deny psychic reality. She described a clinical case in which she tried to help a patient to re-establish the missing psychic reality.

The third panellist, Irma Brenman Pick, described Klein's idea of the internal world and the movement from the paranoid-schizoid to the depressive position. She then outlined the way an adolescent patient expressed aspects of her internal world in her sessions and simultaneously evoked attitudes and feelings in her analyst appropriate to the attitudes and feelings of the patient and of the patient's internal objects. In Brenman Pick's view, psychic reality is always interwoven with external reality.

The fourth panellist, Jacob Arlow stated that the concept of psychic reality should be dropped.

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