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Reichbart, R. (2008). Screen Memory: Its Importance to Object Relations and Transference. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 56(2):455-481.

(2008). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 56(2):455-481

Screen Memory: Its Importance to Object Relations and Transference

Richard Reichbart

A screen memory of an obsessive and narcissistic man, reported early in psychoanalysis, both represented and disguised the patient's oedipal conflict, incestuous wishes, and sibling rivalry. It symbolized for him his relationship with his mother and was treated by him, in a repetitive and fetishistic manner throughout treatment, as the reason for his bitterness toward life, his sense of entitlement, his narcissism, and his distrust of women. In the transference, the memory—far from being inert—constantly played an active role in his wishes and disappointments regarding the analyst, and in his fantasied oedipal triumph over him. As the analysis progressed, and after years of treatment, the encapsulated nature of this memory began to give way to the patient's growing awareness of his oedipal wishes, the full range of his feelings toward his mother, and his sense of abandonment by her. The nature of screen memory is explored, including how it relates to a patient's personality and use of the past in general, how it may figure in the development of a person's object relations, and the decisive role it may play throughout a treatment.

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