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Szajnberg, N.M. (1993). Recovering a Repressed Memory, and Representational Shift in an Adolescent. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:711-727.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:711-727

Recovering a Repressed Memory, and Representational Shift in an Adolescent

Nathan M. Szajnberg, M.D.


This case report focuses on the disappearance of a fixed pictorial iconic representation and transformation to symbolic (word) representation following the recovery of a repressed memory in a twelve-and-a-half-year-old after the first eleven months of psychoanalysis. There is a substantial body of psychoanalytic literature on the importance of language, naming or articulation of experiences associated with transformation of psychic structure (Fenichel, 1941); (Glover, 1955); (Kris, 1956a), (1956b); (Werner and Kaplan, 1963); (Schafer, 1976), (1978a), (1978b), (1980); (Shapiro, 1979); (Spence, 1982); (Stern, 1989) and a relatively autonomous literature on the communicative representational power of children's play or visual portrayals (Piaget, 1962); (A. Freud, 1947); (Klein, 1964); (Axeline, 1947); (Esman, 1983); (Neubauer et al., 1987); (Krall, 1989). To our knowledge, there is no report of the structural effect of the recovery of a repressed traumatic experience, in this case, with subsequent parental confirmation of the traumatic event.

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