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Green, A. (2000). The Central Phobic Position: A New Formulation Of The Free Association Method. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 81(3):429-451.

(2000). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 81(3):429-451

The Central Phobic Position: A New Formulation Of The Free Association Method

André Green

The author discusses a particular quality of associative behaviour observed in some borderline patients, and its role in maintaining a central defensive position, clearly discernible in a complex use of the analyst, and a particular functioning of the mind that the author terms phobic. Illustrating his argument with a detailed clinical account of the gradual joining of associative themes in one particular patient, the author both demonstrates the theory underlying his practice and exemplifies the deeper theoretical underpinning of his approach to psychoanalysis. This implies a new formulation of the free association method. By constructing an analytic space in which free association and psychoanalytic listening are possible, the analyst can voice and link previously catastrophic ideas, quite unknown to the patient's consciousness, to help the patient to create meaning and obtain relief from previously dominant but unknown terrors. Concluding his paper, the author links his clinical account both to his ideas on temporality and negativity and to the relationship between oedipal and pre-oedipal elements.

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