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Erreich, A. (2015). Unconscious Fantasy as a Special Class of Mental Representation: A Contribution to a Model of Mind. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 63(2):247-270.

(2015). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 63(2):247-270

Unconscious Fantasy as a Special Class of Mental Representation: A Contribution to a Model of Mind

Anne Erreich

Philosophers of mind and cognitive psychologists have proposed that “mind” consists of myriad mental representations, namely, conscious and unconscious representations of belief/desire intentions. It is argued here that unconscious fantasies constitute a subset of the domain of mental representations, those concerned with conflicting wishes, affects, and defensive maneuvers. This proposal anchors the unconscious fantasy construct in a model of mind that accords with contemporary academic views in cognitive and developmental psychology and philosophy of mind, thus allowing psychoanalysts to enter into dialogue with those disciplines. Given this formulation, unconscious fantasy might well serve as a theoretical construct that applies to a large group of theories that share certain criteria regarding mentation. An analyst would then be at liberty to commingle insights from a menu of different theories without committing metatheoretical malpractice, resulting in a principled version of theoretical pluralism. Published case material from Kleinian, close process monitoring, and self psychological perspectives demonstrates how this redefined unconscious fantasy construct can encompass two major types of interventions that analysts make: content and process interpretations.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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