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Shapiro, T. (1999). The 41st International Psychoanalytic Congress, Santiago, Chile 1999: Foreword. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(2):275-276.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(2):275-276

The 41st International Psychoanalytic Congress, Santiago, Chile 1999: Foreword

Theodore Shapiro

Many have noted that Freud offered no definitive theory of affects (Rapaport, 1953). Nonetheless, Freud's psychoanalysis is affect-centred, focusing on anxiety as the mediating force that intervenes between drive and defence. He also wrote cogently regarding the affect of melancholia (1917), which he analogised to mourning. There is a third theme in Freud's (1895) early writing, in which he invoked Darwin as the source of an idea that hysteria and anxiety, among other affects, are remnants of earlier experiences of humankind that remain a part of our experiential legacy as affective expressions.

These are the explicit Freudian roots in our psychoanalytic history that warrant attention regarding the theory of affects. There is additional implicit evidence that psychoanalysis has,par-excellence, been a science of the mind that considers affect as a central working concept and does not split cognition from affect because human experience is viewed holistically. In fact, in psychoanalytic writing there is no clinical description of thought without affect. We see the intermingling of both reflected in self-evaluative responses, the colouration of retold experience or any recall of human interaction. We measure each experience against affect-laden past reminiscences or transferential constellations that are suffused with feeling. Our case histories are construed and weighted by their affective valence. We become witness to change within the psychoanalytic context that involves the careful titration of feeling.

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