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Blacker, K.H. (1975). Tracing a Memory. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 23:51-68.

(1975). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 23:51-68

Tracing a Memory

K. H. Blacker, M.D.


Comparisons of the nests of associations within which a single memory reappeared during the course of an analysis deemed successful by analyst and patient revealed changes in content and structure of these matrices. Judges, given a sample of associations surrounding a reappearance, were able to relate a particular appearance to its sequential location in the development and flow of an analysis.

In the study samples, the patient became increasingly active and insightful as the analysis progressed. Resistance decreased, and the memory, initially given as a narrative report, became a powerful metaphor for the examination of conflicts concerning aggression and its defense, passivity. The results of the judges' analyses and of the thematic analysis suggest that a close examination of associations surrounding a repeated stimulus, a single memory, can be used as an index of analytic progress.

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