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Sandberg, L.S. (2016). On the Argument for (and Against) Neuropsychoanalysis. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(4):1149-1150.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(4):1149-1150

On the Argument for (and Against) Neuropsychoanalysis Related Papers

Larry S. Sandberg, M.D.

Dear Editor,

I read with interest the recent contributions of Yovell, Solms and Fotopoulou (2015) and the response of Blass and Carmeli (2015). Blass and Carmeli are particularly critical of the clinical material pointing out the supportive nature of the intervention. They also argue that the familiar psychological finding regarding the fallibility of memory relegates the neuroscientific research to no more than a biological correlate of what is common knowledge amongst psychoanalysts. Blass and Carmeli (2007) previously observed that the importance of focusing on recollecting facts of past events in treatment was a ‘debated issue’ with the trend in contemporary practice supporting a more limited role for such approaches. I offer a brief vignette illustrating the use of neuro-scientific research on traumatic memory during the course of a four time per week analysis. I argue that such research can be relevant and helpful, though, in ways that are neither categorical nor predictable.

Many years ago as a candidate I struggled in my work with an adult analysand whose belief her mother had sexually abused her in certain ways as a young child allowed her to feel integrated as ‘victim’. The focus in supervision was on working with her ‘psychic reality’ - the analysand's experience reflecting some admixture of fantasy and historical reality. In the transference, the experience of victimization was enacted when attempting to explore her reality as over-determined by internal and external factors.

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