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Reeder, J. (1995). A Contribution to the Interpretation of Unconscious Fantasy. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(2):79-90.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(2):79-90

A Contribution to the Interpretation of Unconscious Fantasy

Jurgen Reeder, Ph.D.

The status of the concept of unconscious fantasy is ambiguous in Freud's writings and to this day still debatable within the psychoanalytic community. Taking Freud's article of 1919—“A child is being beaten”—as his starting point, the author develops a tripartite theoretical model on the basis of Freud's analysis of a masochistic fantasy. In a second stage, this model is applied back onto some central points in that same text. Departing from Freud's own words that the unconscious phase of the fantasy “never had a real existence”, it is argued that what we name “unconscious fantasy” perhaps cannot have the character of a pre-existing psychological “content” in the unconscious. Instead, it must be seen as an unrealized potential belonging to the future rather than to the past.

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