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Bronstein, C. (2015). Finding Unconscious Phantasy in the Session: Recognizing Form. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(4):925-944.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(4):925-944

Psychoanalytic Theory and Technique

Finding Unconscious Phantasy in the Session: Recognizing Form Language Translation

Catalina Bronstein

(Accepted for publication 27 November 2014)

The concept of unconscious phantasy has played - and still does play - a central role in psychoanalytic thinking. The author discusses the various forms by which unconscious phantasies manifest themselves in the analytic session as they are lived out and enacted in the transference relationship. This paper also aims at expanding the kleinian theory of symbol formation by exploring the impact that emotional aspects connected to early “raw’, “pre-symbolic’ phantasies have in the analysis and how their corporeal elements interlock with the signifying process. The author follows the expressive forms of primitive unconscious phantasies as they appear in a psychoanalytic session and proposes that the emotional effect that can be experienced in the communication between patient and analyst depends in great measure on “semiotic’ aspects linked to primitive phantasies that are felt and lived out in embodied ways. Rather than a move from unconscious phantasies that typify symbolic equations to those showing proper symbolization, these can coexist and simultaneously find their way to what is communicated to the analyst. As early phantasies bear an intimate connection to the body and to unprocessed emotions when they are projected into the analyst they can produce a powerful resonance, sometimes also experienced in a physical way and forming an integral part of the analyst's counter-transference.

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