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Aragón, J.V. (1995). Therapeutic Process and the Nature of the Unconscious (Discussion). Int. Forum Psychoanal., 4(2):125-128.

(1995). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 4(2):125-128

Clinical Discussion

Therapeutic Process and the Nature of the Unconscious (Discussion) Related Papers

Julio Villena Aragón, Ph.D.

In working with procedural memory Dr. Sorter draws attention to cognitive, behavioural and interpersonal elements largely neglected by classical psychoanalysis. Contemporary psychoanalysts no longer regard behavioural, cognitive and interpersonal aspects of experience as secondary to drive related dynamics. Instead we consider them potentially causative of self structure to the same degree as conflict related and motivational dynamics.

Suggesting that procedural memory was formed and operates unconsciously, Dr. Sorter touches upon the very nature of the unconscious. Both in current psychoanalytic literature and in neurobiological research, we find evidence that all experience starts being unconscious and that only a very small part ever becomes conscious. This process of selection has little if anything to do with repression, and so a method that centers on lifting repression would miss the bulk of unconscious material. Examining the psychoanalytic interaction in the context of an emphatic relationship is a necessary complement to free association and interpretative work.

Modern neuropsychopathology has shown unequivocally that there is correspondence between psychological function and brain localization even for symbolic and ethical social functions. Some of the functions are probably organized at sub-cortical level (non conscious). One such case would be procedural memory.

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