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Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Piaget and Psychoanalysis: Some Reflections on Insight. Anita Tenzer. Pp. 319-339.. Psychoanal Q., 55:548-549.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Piaget and Psychoanalysis: Some Reflections on Insight. Anita Tenzer. Pp. 319-339.

(1986). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 55:548-549

Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983: Piaget and Psychoanalysis: Some Reflections on Insight. Anita Tenzer. Pp. 319-339.

Ronald F. Krasner

Discussion. Lawrence Friedman. Pp. 339-348.

Conscious and Unconscious. Gilbert Voyat. Pp. 348-358.

Piaget's theories of cognitive development concern the acquisition of knowledge through mechanisms that become equilibrated via a hierarchical integration of schemes. These schemes interact with external objects and concomitantly are modified by the growing individual. The awareness of these schemes, the understanding of them that leads to the regulation of behavior, had been termed by Piaget the grasp of consciousness. In psychoanalysis the understanding of one's self is termed insight. To achieve a closer correlation between Piaget's cognitive theories and clinical psychoanalysis, Tenzer suggests that the process of discovery in psychoanalysis is analogous to the child's discovery of his world. Integrating some of Piaget's experimental work with some well recognized phases in psychoanalytic work, Tenzer establishes four stages of the process of grasping consciousness and obtaining insight: 1) the presence and beginning awareness of unconscious behavior; 2) the working through by viewing experience within different contexts; 3) the attainment of self-observation and 4) the integration of partial insights leading to reflective abstractions.


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In his discussion, Friedman is wary of accepting too readily the four Piagetian concepts he feels psychotherapists eagerly welcome: 1) the idea of stages; 2) the notion of an early type of knowledge organized differently from conscious knowledge; 3) the idea that knowledge moves toward objectivity; and 4) the contrast of assimilation and accommodation. Further, he underscores a type of question that highlights the essential differences between psychoanalysis and Piaget's theories of cognition, namely, "Why are some things harder to learn than other things?"

Voyat in his brief response to Tenzer clarifies Piaget's theses. Most importantly, he points out that Piaget does three things in analyzing consciousness: 1) he depicts physiologic parallels; 2) he ascribes energy to a physical entity; and 3) he suggests that consciousness depends on a system of meanings. This last statement becomes the crucial connection between Piaget and psychoanalysis that Tenzer addresses in her paper.


WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the PEPWeb subscriber and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form.
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Article Citation

Krasner, R.F. (1986). Contemporary Psychoanalysis. XIX, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 55:548-549

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.