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Dunn, J. (1997). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. Section 2: Theory and Technique. Psychoanal Q., 66:367-368.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. Section 2: Theory and Technique

(1997). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 66:367-368

The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996. Section 2: Theory and Technique

Jonathan Dunn

Feelings are a unique adaptive form of cognitive action that anchor, and are anchored in, the myriad ways humans perceive and evaluate their internal and external worlds: feelings are crucial factors that make pure objectivity a fiction. Feelings are inherently linked to specific social contexts and objects; thus, they must be defined in both intrapsychic and relational/empathic terms. Just as external stimuli provoke feelings from within, feelings also locate our external world, and in this sense bring all that is external to life. Here feelings are seen as continual phases of evaluations, as ways of being in and of the world.

Feelings are also orienting signals for basic organismic survival. At the same time, they help us create and maintain our value systems that go beyond such vital needs. Psychic conflict emerges from contradictory and rigidified aspects of unquestioned feeling-laden evaluations—“dead certainties.” Psychoanalytic therapy helps patients better attune to their feelings in order to reappraise and recreate

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their conscious and unconscious value systems. This process allows for greater psychological integration, cognitive flexibility, and human engagement. The author also discusses feelings in relation to psychic defense (not the mechanisms but the matter of which value wins out), resistance, unconscious fantasy, guilt, anxiety, language, moods, memory, and time. Van Leeuwen also speculates as to why feelings are so often understood as passive experiences.

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Article Citation

Dunn, J. (1997). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. II, 1995-1996.. Psychoanal. Q., 66:367-368

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