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Künstlicher, A.H. (2002). Dream and loss — on triangulation and its implication on the capacity for self-reflection in psychoanalytic work. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 25(1):36-47.

(2002). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 25(1):36-47

Dream and loss — on triangulation and its implication on the capacity for self-reflection in psychoanalytic work

Annika Hirdman Künstlicher, Leg. psych.

This paper takes as its starting point Freud's idea that the loss of the object and its inner restoration is an on-going process, which has a crucial influence on the facing of reality. The author's aim is to illustrate that it is by working through the loss of the object that an inner triangulation may be experienced. The idea of triangulation is based on Ronald Britton's definition of it as the image of a mental space in which subjective experiencing can be combined with observing. Via a clinical material, where the distinction between self and object may be endured only with difficulties, the author discusses how phantasizing may serve as an evasion of a notion of an inner catastrophe and how a collapsed triangular space can be restored. In this discussion, the differentiating aspect by negation is touched upon. In connection to another clinical case, the author discusses how the analysand creates what the author calls an illusion about the mutual interchangeability of the objects. This is used to protect the analysand from experiencing feelings of Oedipal competition, and through that, mourn the illusion of an exclusive place in the Oedipal triad. The conclusion is that the capacity to create meaning comprises the idea of the possibility of, together with the subjective experience, internalizing the perspective of “the other”. Further, that the working through of the Oedipal situation stabilizes the capacity for an observing thinking, since it places the person in a triangular position where he/she is able both to identify with the parties in the Oedipal arena and to observe his/her own contribution to the Oedipal interplay.

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