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Mancia, M. (2004). Response to Dr Levin. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(5):1277-1277.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(5):1277-1277

Response to Dr Levin Related Papers

Mauro Mancia

Dear Sirs,

First, I would like to thank Fred M. Levin for his interest in my paper and for his highly pertinent comments. I agree with him that there is the possibility of misunderstanding regarding the fact that the implicit memory does not allow recollection. Herein lies the novelty and most significant neuroscientific contribution to psychoanalysis. This memory is implicit in that it permits experiences to be stored even if they cannot be remembered, and remains operative throughout a person's life as the unrepressed unconscious.

Remembering is important for the explicit memory, hence for repression, but when repression is impossible because the structures needed for the explicit memory are not yet mature, experiences can only be filed in the implicit memory, from which they can be brought to the surface not through recollection but through a symbolic transformation in dreams, and through metaphorical and communicative modalities in the transference.

Thus, not all memories can be remembered. Fred Levin's justifiable doubt can be clarified by specifying that recollection is not the central factor in therapeutic analysis. It is important to assess the possibility of reconstructing the patient's affective and emotional history, starting from his early relational experiences, using some specific elements of the transference and figurative and pictographic symbolic work on dreams.

I hope Dr Levin will agree with me that work on the implicit memory is now a decisive factor for retrieving core elements of a patient's unrepressed unconscious mental life, even without remembering. I suggest we should avoid using the term ‘dynamic’ to refer to the unrepressed unconscious because it too may give rise to misunderstanding, as a dynamic process is by definition linked to Freudian repression.


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