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Reed, G.S. (1995). Clinical Truth And Contemporary Relativism: Meaning And Narration In The Psychoanalytic Situation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 43:713-739.

(1995). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 43:713-739

Clinical Truth And Contemporary Relativism: Meaning And Narration In The Psychoanalytic Situation

Gail S. Reed

This paper proposes that clinical psychoanalysis requires distinctions for its practice that tend to be blurred by a less than careful importation of contemporary philosophical concepts. One such distinction is that between narration and the event narrated; another, that between meaning seen as absolutely relative and meaning understood as hierarchical. The first distinction identifies present experience as formed by a narrative strategy arrived at in the past. The second distinction allows pathology to be described as arrests or limitations in the ability to construe meaning. This perspective has implications for a number of current debates, among them those concerning the roles of interpretation and reconstruction. A clinical illustration involving the reconstruction of a disavowed perception and relying on the aforementioned distinctions is presented.

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