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Hoffman, L. (1992). On the Clinical Utility of the Concept of Depressive Affect as Signal Affect. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:405-423.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:405-423

On the Clinical Utility of the Concept of Depressive Affect as Signal Affect

Leon Hoffman, M.D.


The author reviews the scant literature relating to the concept of depressive affect as an affect parallel to anxiety. Then, through the presentation of detailed clinical psychoanalytic data, in particular the patient's associations to interpretation, he demonstrates the value to the conduct of a psychoanalysis of an awareness of the role of depressive affect as a signal affect that triggers defense.

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