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Levinson, N.A. (1996). Panel Report: Psychic Reality And The Life Cycle: The Psychic Reality Of Women: Chaired by SARA ZAC DE FILC, BUENOS AIRES. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:123-127.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:123-127

Panel Report: Psychic Reality And The Life Cycle: The Psychic Reality Of Women: Chaired by SARA ZAC DE FILC, BUENOS AIRES

Nadine A. Levinson

The Chairman opened the panel by commenting that psychic reality is a term that is difficult to define clearly. She noted Freud's (1900) statement that the unconscious is the ‘true psychical reality’ and that it is incompletely represented through the sense organs of the body. Zac de Filc emphasised that psychic reality derives from the real and affective experiences of the psyche. Unlike external reality rooted in material reality, psychic reality is unique, ‘phantasmic’, inside the psychical apparatus, ‘interior to’ and characteristic for each psyche. Clinically, the psychic reality communicated to us by our patients is the outcome of a blend of internal reality and external reality. More importantly, she said, it is also a reality affected by the analyst, the very person who helps to decode it.

Turning from her task of defining psychic reality, she commented on the special tasks that women have to carry out over the life cycle in order to consolidate their psychic reality. She said that women live in a culture and society that serve as an external reality matrix for yet another system of realities—physical and physiological experiences and other developmental events and intrapsychic conflicts. Zac de Filc observed that this panel would provide a sampling of female life-cycle experiences, ranging from menstruation in adolescence to menopause and ageing, in order to study the impact of bodily reality and developmental experiences on psychic reality in relation to external reality and its cultural and societal context.

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