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Tip: To review the bibliography…

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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Robinson, K. (2014). On Not Being Able to Symbolize. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(3):363-371.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(3):363-371

On Not Being Able to Symbolize

Ken Robinson

This paper explores ideas from Marion Milner which the author has found helpful in conceptualizing work with a patient who felt tyrannized by her objects, terrified that she would be swallowed up by them never to re-emerge. Her terror interfered with her capacity to symbolize. The paper looks at the concept of a bodily self and its creative engagement with the world especially in the form of fusion with the object. It places Milner's theory in the larger context of psychoanalytic and neuroscientific thinking from Freud and Winnicott to Damasio as well as relating it to philosophical and Romantic accounts of creative apperception and personal knowledge. Although confidentiality precludes a detailed account of the analysis, the author provides an outline of the gradual development of her capacity to symbolize alongside her growing sense of a continuous self. He further comments on her finding what Milner called ‘intuitive images’ to bridge intellect and intuition and to allow them to co-exist peacefully. The patient brought drawings to sessions and the paper reflects on these as an index of change as well as on the importance of the process of creating them in relation to her anxiety over the tyranny of objects.

[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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