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Andrade, V.M. (2005). Affect and the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(3):677-697.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(3):677-697

Affect and the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis

Victor Manoel Andrade

In connection with controversial IJP articles by Stern et al. and Fonagy on the interpretation of the repressed and the recovery of past memories, the author maintains that the affect that is inherent in positive transference is at the heart of therapeutic action. Points of view put forward in the controversy (based on neurobiological knowledge) are related to Freudian metapsychology, as well as to their precursors whose scope was necessarily limited by a lack of access to more recent scientific discoveries. The author demonstrates metapsychological elements of therapeutic action inherent in the intersubjective relationship, especially identification, manifested in introjection and empathy. He describes cognitive development as spontaneously blossoming from the affective nucleus, and he explains the neuroscientific bases of this step forward. The classic (interpretative) psychoanalytic method makes up the cognitive superstructure necessary for the organisation of the mind that has sprung from the affective substructure. As a primary factor in psychic change, interpretation is limited in effectiveness to pathologies arising from the verbal phase, related to explicit memories, with no effect in the pre-verbal phase where implicit memories are to be found. Interpretation—the method used to the exclusion of all others for a century—is only partial; when used in isolation it does not meet the demands of modern broad-spectrum psychoanalysis, as the clinical material presented illustrates.

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