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Good, M.I. Day, M. Rowell, E. (2005). False memories, negative affects, and psychic reality: The role of extra-clinical data in psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(6):1573-1593.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(6):1573-1593

False memories, negative affects, and psychic reality: The role of extra-clinical data in psychoanalysis

Michael I. Good , Max Day and Eve Rowell

Psychoanalysis as a treatment originated in the idea that neurosis is related to the ways in which individual psychic reality departs from actuality. Psychic reality includes memories, beliefs and their associated affects and fantasies connected with an individual's experience of the inner and outer world. The psychoanalytic determination of what meaningful memories or beliefs are inaccurate, distorted or false ordinarily relies upon principles of intra-clinical validation. By itself, however, intra-clinical validation is subject to limitations and pitfalls that conviction alone about what is actual cannot circumvent. Despite this fact, there are remarkably few analytic case reports demonstrating false or significantly distorted memories through the use of data obtained from outside the consulting room. This paucity of reports may be related, at least in part, to the belief that the use of extra-clinical data is essentially unanalytic or supports resistance. Based on the views that (a) psychic reality cannot be regarded as exclusively subjective or objective but is inherently both; and that (b) a goal of analysis is to achieve a different, acceptable and more accurate view of reality, the authors report a clinical case involving a confirmably false pivotal memory and its associated negative affects. They discuss theoretical and technical considerations in utilizing extra-clinical data during the treatment process.

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