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Katz, G. (2015). Repressed Ghosts and Dissociated Vampires in the Enacted Dimension of Psychoanalytic Treatment. Psychoanal Q., 84(2):389-414.

(2015). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 84(2):389-414

Repressed Ghosts and Dissociated Vampires in the Enacted Dimension of Psychoanalytic Treatment

Gil Katz

One of the most evocative uses of the metaphor of a ghost in psychoanalytic writing was crafted by Hans Loewald in “On the Therapeutic Action of Psycho-Analysis(1960). In this seminal work, Loewald likened the process of psychoanalytic change to that of transforming psychic ghosts into ancestors. In the present paper, the author supplements the metaphor of ghosts that haunt with the metaphor of vampires that menace, and links these two alien experiences to two psychological processes: repression and dissociation. Descriptions of ghosts and vampires in folklore, and the ways they are experienced in analytic treatment, are followed by an explication of the enacted dimension of analytic process—the arena of treatment in which all demons are inevitably revivified, “recognized,” and ultimately laid to rest. The paper includes a clinical illustration of a dissociated vampire: a Holocaust trauma transmitted across three generations of survivors.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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