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Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Unformulated Experience. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 71-99.. Psychoanal Q., 55:204.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Unformulated Experience. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 71-99.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:204

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Unformulated Experience. Donnel B. Stern. Pp. 71-99.

Ronald F. Krasner

Stern defines unformulated experience as "mentation characterized by lack of clarity and differentiation." The process by which this occurs is different from Freudian repression, according to Stern, because repression refers only to whole formed memories that are purposively kept out of awareness. What has never reached consciousness cannot be banned from it. After a brief discussion of some of Sullivan's theories which touch on this concept, Stern takes up the constructivist point of view from cognitive psychology as put forth by Neisser. Memories and thoughts are constructions. Like visual perceptions, these constructions may or may not be "perceived." Establishing this concept, Stern goes on to describe the role unformulated experience has in the creative process. Unformulated experience leading to creative disorder is positive, while unformulated experience held in place (defensively) as familiar chaos is pathological. Curiosity attends to unformulated experience, and psychoanalysis is not a search for hidden truth, but "is the progressive awakening of curiosity, a movement from familiar chaos to creative disorder."


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.
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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:204

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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.