Conscious and Unconscious. Gilbert Voyat. Pp. 348-358.
Piaget's theories of cognitive developmentconcern 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 unconsciousbehavior; 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 consciousknowledge; 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 personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form. - 549 -