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Friedman, L. (1983). Reconstruction and the Like. Psychoanal. Inq., 3(2):189-222.

(1983). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 3(2):189-222

Reconstruction and the Like

Lawrence Friedman, M.D.

Mists of ambiguity and skepticism have drifted over reconstruction, which was once the beacon light of psychoanalysis.

In the first part of this paper, I ask whether reconstructive personal history is a peculiar form of thought, protean and elusive compared to four-square, causal thinking. (I answer that it is not.)

Next I discuss psychoanalytic reconstruction proper: What does it imply about the constitution of the mind? (It implies the retention of an incompletely analyzed representation of past reality.) Why is it supposed to be therapeutically useful? (Because the context of present meaning includes this still unclear representation of past fact.) And how can utter relativism be avoided? (I don't know, but I suspect it has something to do with the feel of problems in treatment.)

Finally I look at the unintended consequences of making reconstructions during treatment. (These consequences include ease of thought, use of authority, manipulation of closeness and distance, and effects of a joint, visible project.)

The most interesting question for contemporary analysts, the relationship of infant research to analytic reconstruction, I leave to experts (cf. Lichtenberg, 1981), except to argue in passing that it cannot be ignored.

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