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Hämäläinen, O. (2009). The Relationship of the Inner and the Outer in Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(6):1277-1297.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(6):1277-1297

The Relationship of the Inner and the Outer in Psychoanalysis

Olavi Hämäläinen

(Final version accepted 15 May 2009)

What is internal and what is external according to psychoanalytic theory? This is a surprisingly complicated question. The terminology is often ambiguous and inconsistent as, for instance, in the use of terms like ‘object’ and ‘other’. The relationship between internal and external in psychoanalysis is analysed from a philosophical, concept analytical, developmental psychological, methodological and trauma versus internal dynamics point of view. It is argued that psychoanalytical writing is influenced by the authors' need to create their personal psychoanalytic theory and language. This is seen as one of the main reasons for the terminological variety and ambiguity in psychoanalytic writing. It is also argued that one particular reason for difficulties concerning the internal-external terminology is the existential anxiety awakened by the threat of the essential aloneness of man. The consciousness of this has a tendency to fade and lead to unclear terminology. The importance of the transitional world as a resting place from the hard reality of this essential aloneness is emphasized. The transitional world is also seen as a necessary part of psychoanalytical practice, as an aid in striving for the truth and reality, important goals of psychoanalysis.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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