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Dupecher, M. (2008). Unconscious Fantasies and the Relational World by Danielle Knafo and Kenneth Feiner Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 2006; 222 pp; $45.00. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 89(3):688-692.

(2008). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 89(3):688-692

Unconscious Fantasies and the Relational World by Danielle Knafo and Kenneth Feiner Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ, 2006; 222 pp; $45.00

Review by:
Martha Dupecher

In Unconscious Fantasies and the Relational World, Danielle Knafo and Kenneth Feiner attempt to establish a new model of working with unconscious fantasy that emphasizes the relational perspective. They set forth several extended examples of unconscious fantasy, taken both from clinical situations and artistic endeavors, and focusing on primal scene, family romance and castration fantasies, to demonstrate their thinking.

In their short introduction the authors argue that a new generation of analysts have given primacy to the influence of external reality upon development and path-ogenesis and have relegated fantasy to a secondary role. (The authors attribute this shift to a heightened emphasis upon the early mother-child interaction.) They go on to say that they envisage this book as “an attempt to restore unconscious fantasy to its proper place in theory and practice” (p. 3). Knafo and Feiner do not intend this as a return to earlier modes of thinking about unconscious fantasy. Rather, they declare their intention to distinguish themselves from the vast literature that has preceded them by emphasizing:

the reciprocal interplay between conscious and unconscious and between fantasy and reality … bridging the traditional, one-person psychology, whose emphasis is on intrapsychic life, fantasy and latent meanings, with the more recent focus on the significance of actual relationships and experiences in shaping one's life.

(pp. 3-4)

The authors' first chapter is a summary of the literature on unconscious fantasy.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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