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Bornstein, M. (1983). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(2):179-182.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(2):179-182


Melvin Bornstein, M.D.

And so maybe if you could go to someone, the stanger the better, and give them something—a scrap of paper—something, anything, it not to mean anything in itself and then not even to read it or keep it, not even bother to throw it away or destroy it, at least it would be something just because it would have happened, be remembered even if only from passing from one hand to another, one mind to another, and it would be at least a scratch, something, something that might make a mark on something that was once for the reason that it can die someday, while the block of stone can't be is because it never can become was because it can't ever die or perish.

—ABSALOM, ABSALOM!, William Faulkner, Copyright 1936, Random House, Inc.

This inquiry into construction and reconstruction in Psychoanalysis directs the reader to a consideration that is fundamental to psychoanalysis, namely, an understanding of the influence on mental life of the past, actual or imagined, rediscovered or newly created. Construction can be understood largely in the context of the role of the psychoanalyst in the psychoanalytic process, while reconstruction can be understood as a process of shared activity between analyst and analysand. Although the papers in this issue are diverse, spanning clinical, theoretical, applied, and philosophical realms, the main perspective they examine is the role of the psychoanalyst. A variety of views emerge, which can be placed around the poles of two axes. The first axis deals with construction—the process by which the psychoanalyst gives meaning and order to the data of the patient's associations. One pole of this axis is grounded in the immediate present as the analyst creates his understanding of the ongoing analytic encounter. The other pole of this axis is an investigation of causal linkages as the analyst relates present to past in the creation of a new perspective about the analysand's life history.

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