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Zimmer, R.B. (2018). Common sense: Its uses, misuses, and pitfalls. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 99(2):314-333.

(2018). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 99(2):314-333

Common sense: Its uses, misuses, and pitfalls

Richard B. Zimmer

“Common sense” is ubiquitous in most discourse, including the psychoanalytic process. It is comprised of multiple different forms of thinking which have certain similarities of organization. Its appearance in interpersonal discourse evokes typical affects, fantasies, and intersubjective experiences, which I call “the feeling of common sense”. Because of its underlying conceptual structure and its powerful affective and intersubjective components, as well as the underlying conceptual organization of the various forms of thinking associated with it, common sense can have a variety of different functions in the analytic process; some serve its forward movement, while others function, in various ways, as impediments which need to be understood and unravelled. Such understanding sheds light not only on the patient’s internal dynamics, but the analyst’s collusive participation in enactments at many levels. Such awareness may shape the analyst’s technical decisions as much as the content of his or her interpretations. I offer clinical illustrations of a number of these phenomena.

[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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