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Hernández, M. (1999). Affect, Language and Communication: Loose Ends. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(2):341-355.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(2):341-355

Affect, Language and Communication: Loose Ends

Max Hernández

The author begins by enquiring whether the three elements of his subject matter are intended to be discussed separately or in terms of the links between them. He goes on to consider the role of language in the development of psychoanalysis from Freud on. Notwithstanding the fruitful mutual influences of linguistics and psychoanalysis, he draws attention to the dangers of a one-sidedly linguistic approach to psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice. Turning to affect, the author reviews Freud's early neurophysiological conceptions and the possible distinctions between affect, emotion and feeling as reflected in the contributions of later workers. The aspects of anxiety, trauma, object relations, transference and infant development are touched upon and quantitative and metapsychological considerations are adduced. The author's starting point for his treatment of communication is Freud's well-known telephone simile. He goes on to discuss subsequent work on mother—baby communication in early childhood, communication as semiology, and communication through acting out and enactment; this section ends with a note on the etymology of the word communication. The author concludes by drawing attention to the importance in analysis of experience, in which the three entities of language, affect and communication are combined. Having failed to answer the question with which he began, he is left with the loose ends of his title.

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