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Frosch, A. (1995). The Preconceptual Organization Of Emotion. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:423-447.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:423-447

The Preconceptual Organization Of Emotion

Allan Frosch

The suggestion is made that emotions organized on a preconceptual level are psychic constructs different in kind, as well as degree, from emotions organized on a more abstract conceptual level. For many people the regressive alteration in ego functioning that gives rise to these emotional constructions represents a characterological way of handling conflict. Emotions organized on a preconceptual level and rigidly maintained through primitive defenses ward off a host of fears ranging from castration to dedifferentiation. The shift from the preconceptual world of sensation to the conceptual world of abstraction complements the resolution of oedipal themes and is essential for free and easy movement between reality-based interactions and the imaginary experience of both self- and object representations in the transference. Structural and dynamic aspects of these emotional constructions are discussed and their relation to a person's experience of reality is explored through transference material taken from different points in an analysis. The problem of the analyst's use of concepts to refer to preconcepts is also discussed, as is the issue of enactments.

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