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Boesky, D. (1973). Déjà Raconté As a Screen Defense. Psychoanal Q., 42:491-524.

(1973). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 42:491-524

Déjà Raconté As a Screen Defense

Dale Boesky, M.D.


Déjà raconté is a valuable clinical signal of the threatened intrusion of an unconscious transference fantasy. This paper discusses the advantages of considering the dynamic structure of déjà raconté as though it were composed of two closely integrated components. The 'raconté' portion refers to the spoken communication which either has 'already' been reported (déjà raconté) or has 'not been reported' (jamais raconté). This component has the same metapsychological structure as the manifest dream. The 'déjà' component (or the 'jamais' variant) is the second aspect of this intriguing parapraxis and this is viewed as the equivalent of a screen memory. The common element in all screen memories is the defensive wish of the ego: instead of remembering that which was so painful, remember this which is not only less painful but is even, albeit disguised, rather pleasant.

Déjà raconté is therefore a complex vicissitude of the ego function of memory: it is mediated by the ego's integration of primary and secondary processes, and it has as one of its defensive functions the integration of economic patterns of partial discharge by way of displacement. To view déjà raconté as a dream draws attention to its dynamic integration with primary process 'mechanisms'. To view déjà raconté as a screen memory equivalent calls attention to its unique coalescence of genetic aspects with current derivatives of the transference in an integrated fantasy derivative. Meticulous analysis of this parapraxis can open rich new areas for the psychoanalytic investigation of conflict.

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