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Gammelgaard, J. (2004). Metaphor and the psychodynamic functions of the mind By Henrik Enckell Kuopio: Kuopio Univ. Publications. D. Medical Sciences 265. 2002. 313 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(1):222-225.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(1):222-225

Metaphor and the psychodynamic functions of the mind By Henrik Enckell Kuopio: Kuopio Univ. Publications. D. Medical Sciences 265. 2002. 313 pp.

Review by:
Judy Gammelgaard

It is a pleasure to review something as rare as a doctoral dissertation on a psychoanalytical subject published by a Scandinavian colleague. Henrik Enckell, well known to Scandinavian readers as previous editor in chief of the Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, has carried out a study which distinguishes itself by being systematic and in many ways innovatory for psychoanalytic theory and practice. The dissertation consists of an introductory part and four papers (Enckell, 1999, 2001a, 2001b; Enckell and Campbell, 2001).

Enckell's dissertation is a demonstration of the fruitfulness of using an interdisciplinary approach in scientific work. Taking as a starting point the rhetoric figure of the metaphor, Enckell elegantly transfers it to a study that focuses in a general way on the work of the mind. From there, he proceeds to discuss, more specifically, the metaphorising process when, for pathological reasons, it is blocked.

While the first two papers (1999, 2001a) are built around theoretical issues, the other two consist of clinical cases. The concept of metaphor serves as a core around which important and fundamental psychoanalytical issues can be raised and discussed. Put briefly, the meaning of the term metaphor, as rendered from linguistics, consists of combining words in an unconventional way, thereby eliciting a new, hitherto unseen meaning. Transferred to psychoanalysis, the concept of metaphor is used thus: ‘The unconscious wish puts together representations just as the poet puts together words, and through this an idea is expressed that would not otherwise be revealed’ (2001a, p. 11).

I shall start with a few general words qualifying Enckell's work as scientific, and continue with a more detailed discussion around three main themes.

One of the difficulties we have as psychoanalysts is that the object of our scientific study is the patient in treatment.

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