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McLaughlin, J.T. (1983). Some Observations on the Application of Frame Theory to the Psychoanalytic Situation and Process. Psychoanal Q., 52:167-179.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 52:167-179

Some Observations on the Application of Frame Theory to the Psychoanalytic Situation and Process

James T. McLaughlin, M.D.


Frame theory can contribute to our understanding of psychoanalytic work in ways compatible with established psychoanalytic theory. Its concepts and metaphor convey the relativism of the psychic realities both parties bring to the analytic situation, as well as the multiple levels of transference that become framed upon the relationship. Its linkages to game theory stress the power of play and illusion in transference actualization and working through. The importance of rules and conventions for all three theories, and for the ability to do analytic work, suggests their essential grounding in the child's capacities for play, particularly those capabilities elaborated in latency following oedipal conflict resolution.

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