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Schachter, J.S. (1996). Final Overview Panel: Chaired by LEÓN GRINBERG, Madrid. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 77:387-391.

(1996). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 77:387-391

Final Overview Panel: Chaired by LEÓN GRINBERG, Madrid

Judith S. Schachter

The final overview panel of the 39th Congress confronted the impossible: surveying the contributions of nine plenary presentations given at three sessions, their subsequent discussion groups and a multitude of special discussion groups and related individual papers clustered around the triad of psychic reality's clinical, philosophical and theoretical aspects. The chair, León Grinberg, and the four reporters, Lustig de Ferrer, Richards, de Saussure and Wallerstein fortunately took different tacks in summarising the meeting and provided non-redundant, critical and enriching individual summaries. This very virtue indicated that there was no agreement about the significant trends and no consensus about current understanding of ‘psychic reality’.

The first panellist, Dr Elfrieda Lustig de Ferrer, addressed the issue of definition, which was central to many papers and to the overview reports. She stated that Freud's evolving use of the term ‘psychic reality’ accounted for the variations in definitions used during the Congress: they derived from different points on the trajectory of his continually re-worked theory. The early importance of the unconscious in psychic reality and the latter's role in memory and the preconscious was elaborated beginning with Freud's ‘Project’ of 1895, through his Studies on Hysteria, The Interpretation of Dreams and finally Totem and Taboo. This concept then developed and varied in the later Freud, moving from a dichotomous to a more reciprocal view and culminating in the conceptualisation of a complementary series represented at the Congress in Leo Rangell's contribution.

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