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Brakel, L.W. (1989). Negative Hallucinations, Other Irretrievable Experiences and Two Functions of Consciousness. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 70:461-479.

(1989). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 70:461-479

Negative Hallucinations, Other Irretrievable Experiences and Two Functions of Consciousness

Linda Wimer Brakel


After providing a psychodynamic exploration of negative hallucinations in four clinical cases, the focus of this paper was broadened in an attempt to understand the mechanism of negative hallucination. To this end, after defining the term 'irretrievable experiences', two other examples—preconscious perceptions and infantile amnesia, both analogues to negative hallucination—were examined.

A discussion followed concerning two types of 'consciousness': 'consciousness' as a synonym for 'awareness' and 'consciousness' as a distinct psychological state. Next, the role of different functions of each sort of consciousness in the processes of conferring, fixing and retrieving mental contents within particular categories of experience was taken up. Finally, integrating developmental aspects of these same functions, explanations were offered regarding the mechanisms involved in preconscious

perception, infantile amnesia and negative hallucinations.

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