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Aguillaume, R. (2008). Affects in Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 17(3):139-147.

(2008). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 17(3):139-147

Original Articles

Affects in Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice

Rómulo Aguillaume, M.D.

Translated by:
Rubén Rodríguez de la Fuente and Judith Filc

(Received 14 June 2007; accepted 1 July 2008)

Over time, two opposing views on the role of affect in psychoanalysis have emerged: on the one hand, the view of affect as only existing as long as it can be named, and thus enter the field of speech; and on the other hand, the approach that considers that affect has its own specific and independent role in psychoanalysis, which makes it harder to conceptualise this psychic phenomenon and, of course, to define its purpose in clinical practice. Regardless of the theoretical model that underlies it, however, the goal of psychoanalytic practice is to incorporate emotions into the field of representation. This paper aims to show the problem of affect's specificity and, at the same time, the need for a theory that explains how free affect (or emotion) turns into affect linked to representation — in other words, affect in its restricted sense. At the same time, the author stresses the need for practitioners to regard affect, in its status of truth, as a guide for the cure.

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