Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To see definitions for highlighted words…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Some important words in PEP Web articles are highlighted when you place your mouse pointer over them. Clicking on the words will display a definition from a psychoanalytic dictionary in a small window.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Morrel, A. (1995). Affect in Psychoanalysis: A Clinical Synthesis. Charles Spezzano. Hillsdale NJ: The Analytic Press, 1993. 250 pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 20(1):115-118.

(1995). Modern Psychoanalysis, 20(1):115-118

Affect in Psychoanalysis: A Clinical Synthesis. Charles Spezzano. Hillsdale NJ: The Analytic Press, 1993. 250 pp.

Review by:
Andrew Morrel

Spezzano has written about soemthing essential in psychoanalysis, something that has been implicit in psychoanalytic thinking for a long time but has never been articulated as clearly as it is in this book. His position is that feelings are the basic units of human experience—“the core of human subjectivity” (p. 64)—and therefore deserve a central place in any general theory of psychoanalysis. He says that “the central and most radical argument of psychoanalysis is that human psychological life is, at its core, human affective life” (p. 113). Yet he also notes the long-standing tension in psychoanalytic theorizing between the “experiential centrality (in terms of how both analyst and anlysand think about their work together) and the “theoretical tangentialness” of affects. He explores the reason for this gap between “the (largely) implicit clinico-technical theories … and the formal official theories used” (p. 39), and attributes it in part to Freud's overvaluation of memory recall and intellectual insight as curative factors in analysis and to classical theory' maintaining that affects are “mere” drive derivatives and hence not worthy of study in their own right.

Spezzano takes an opposing point of view, which is that affect precedes drive, such that “affects give rise to relationships, and drives evolve out of the inerplay between them” (p. 112). He derives this from Freud's “signal theory” of affect and goes on to describe feeling “as crucial forms of information about the state of the self among its objects, as modes of communication, and as action predispositions” (p.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2019, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.