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Aquillaume, R. (1995). Editorial (From IFP 1994, Vol 3, No 1). Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(1):3-4.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(1):3-4

Editorial (From IFP 1994, Vol 3, No 1)

Romulo Aquillaume, M.D.

In a recent conversation with us, Dr. Otto Kernberg (1) expressed the view that among the most interesting lines of research are those relating to affect. Since the very beginnings of psychoanalysis, affect and idea as components of drive have been inseparable elements both in theoretical conceptualization and clinical practice. Nonetheless, psychoanalysis still does not possess a theory of affect despite the number of attempts and the notable publications, like that of André Green (2) in the 1970s, that have sought to recover the importance of affect and return it to the position it deserves.

To our good fortune, Joyce McDougall has published some of her work in this journal, and thus we are enabled to link our reflections on affect with the vivid clinical experiences related by this author. These experiences tell us how articulation of affects and representation give birth to new moments and insights that transform a process explained in intellectual terms into human experiences which open up the prospect of change. The very way that Joyce McDougall defines the concept of trauma places affect at the heart of the definition: The traumatic nature of a given event (as an unhealed psychological wound) can only be determined to the extent that the child feels compelled to restructure its psychic world in order to avoid going back to the abandonment it felt at the time of this trauma as a psychological wound that will not heal (3). It is thus an emotional situation—“going back to the abandonment it felt”—which will organise the subject's representational and associative world.

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