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Perelberg, R.J. (1995). A Core Phantasy In Violence. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 76:1215-1231.

(1995). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 76:1215-1231

A Core Phantasy In Violence

Rosine Jozef Perelberg

In this paper the author develops the hypothesis that for some patients there is a core phantasy in their violence that is related to their beliefs about their own procreation. Drawing on her experience of trying to understand and treat psychoanalytically one such patient, the author illustrates how it may be possible to apprehend that there is a pattern in which violence is exercised, a plot or narrative that allows the underlying phantasies to be identified. The violent act tells a story, which is a personal myth of creation and contains both pre-oedipal and distorted oedipal theories. These ideas are then discussed in the context of Freud's writings on violence [Heftigkeit] as well as in relation to a second particularly violent patient.

In this paper I would like to discuss the function of violence in the analysis of a patient. I will develop the hypothesis that for this patient there is a core phantasy in violence which is related to his beliefs about his own conception. I will relate this hypothesis to the psychoanalytic literature.

Although there is an extensive literature on the understanding of aggression in psychoanalysis, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s (see Mitchell, 1993; Perelberg, 1995 for some recent reviews), there is little available on the role of violence. Most authors, however, attempt to discriminate between different types of aggression and to establish distinctions between what is perceived as healthy assertiveness and acts which are defined as aiming to destroy and humiliate the object or inflict pain in the service of sexual pleasure (sadism).

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