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Danckwardt, J.F. (2004). Gleichschwebende Aufmerksamkeit und Modellbildung Eine qualitativ-systematische Einzelfallstudie zum Erkenntnisprozess des Psychoanalytikers [Evenly suspended attention and model-formation. A qualitative systematic case study of the psychoanalyst's cognitive process] by Hartmuth König Ulm: Ulmer Textbank. 2000. 529 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(5):1303-1306.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(5):1303-1306

Gleichschwebende Aufmerksamkeit und Modellbildung Eine qualitativ-systematische Einzelfallstudie zum Erkenntnisprozess des Psychoanalytikers [Evenly suspended attention and model-formation. A qualitative systematic case study of the psychoanalyst's cognitive process] by Hartmuth König Ulm: Ulmer Textbank. 2000. 529 pp.

Review by:
Joachim F. Danckwardt

This book weighs 875 g: a magnum opus. Its material weight artistically stages a carefully chosen cover theme. This is the reproduction of a watercolour by Hans Peter Reuter from 1989, which is entitled Light-space 500. The viewer perceives a column-like ‘uncertain hovering’ (pp. 284-95) between light and darkness, white and blue, which graduates into the space. It is not unlike the dynamic logo used by the news broadcaster, NTV. With this, König illustrates ‘the field change of active imagination’ (p. 295) and his deepened understanding of an aspect of the psychoanalytic cognitive process known as evenly suspended attention. This was worked out by Freud, its founder, in 1900 and 1912 as a central component of the psychoanalytic attitude. It conflicted then as now with the highly conscious and focused working method of the western intellectual and scientific tradition. Through evenly suspended attention, which first and foremost integrates emotionality as a part of both our active and our passive lives into the cognitive process, the psychoanalyst strives towards the capture of the unconscious and its ‘alternative, unprocessed meaning resources’ (p. 219), and thus towards interpretive options and formations that contrast with the ‘selective meaning constructions’ that are often rapidly reinforced in other forms of therapy. Emotional experiences of this kind are constantly represented in words in situational and dramatic form (pp. 300, 306). However, they are often perceived only as proto-thoughts (Bion) and not truly actualised, or else avoided altogether (p. 313). This means that what has been guessed is then disavowed.

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