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Rosen, V.H. (1960). Some Aspects of the Role of Imagination in the Analytic Process. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 8:229-251.

(1960). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 8:229-251

Some Aspects of the Role of Imagination in the Analytic Process

Victor H. Rosen, M.D.

Imagination is a word that is used rather loosely in the English language. It is, however, capable of definition and seems to describe a psychological process that we are aware of intuitively whether or not its precise boundaries have been semantically delimited. This discussion is an attempt to offer one definition of this activity and to explore the usefulness of re-examining certain aspects of psychic functioning in the light of a process so defined.

A survey of the psychopathology of imagination, which may be implied by the title of this presentation, would be a most ambitious project and would, in the end, become a clinical treatise on the organic and functional disturbances of the mental apparatus. I propose here, to discuss a limited and rather discrete area of the disturbance of this mental function as it relates to analytic resistance and the analytic process, and to suggest some alternative formulations on the dynamics of the transference as it is ordinarily encountered in the analytic procedure.

The ensuing discussion is based upon the assumption that imagination is a thought process with special characteristics. It is proposed that the prototype of the capacity for imagination in early ego development is connected with the development of "object constancy" and the behavior toward vanished objects. As in later ego development, similar mechanisms are utilized to extend the process of concept formation.

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