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Meltzer, E. (2019). The place of the visual in psychoanalytic practice by Faye Carey. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(1):160-162.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(1):160-162

The place of the visual in psychoanalytic practice by Faye Carey

Eve Meltzer

Faye Carey’s The Place of the Visual in Psychoanalytic Practice is a methodical and polemical effort to make the case for the value of listening and thinking visually in the practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In no uncertain terms, the book is an argument for something: the restoration to its once central place within psychoanalytic discourse and practice a register of awareness and thought that Carey refers to, quite broadly, as “the visual.” After all, she reminds us, the visual was postulated as fundamental to psychic life by the earliest descriptions of the unconscious whose imagistic contents it is “both the raison d’être and sine qua non” of psychoanalysis to discover and understand (1). To dispel, dismiss, or otherwise quickly translate into words mental images that occur spontaneously to the analyst reflects not the sound methods of a “talking cure,” but, the author argues, a logocentrism that has afflicted psychoanalytic discourse and practice, and catalyzed a neglect of the imagery that occurs at different levels of consciousness, especially to the analyst, as a valuable tool for clinical understanding. Carey is exhaustive and thorough with the sources she culls from to make the case for the mental images—from Bion to Bollas, Freud, Horowitz, Isakower, Ogden, Winnicott, among numerous others, as well as many clinical examples. However, the details she offers about the specifics of the case against mental images are minimal.

[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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