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Lima, E.V. (2002). Non-Discursive Expressive Elements and Their Role in the Construction of Meaning in the Analytical Situation: A Clinical Discussion. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(1):121-135.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(1):121-135

Non-Discursive Expressive Elements and Their Role in the Construction of Meaning in the Analytical Situation: A Clinical Discussion

Estevam Vaz De Lima

The autdor discusses the role of non-discursive expressive elements in the construction of the analytical situation, using three examples to illustrate the problems with which he is concerned. His claim is that the issue in question necessarily involves the subject of affects, and he proceeds to discuss the difficulties associated with this subject. In addition, he considers the contributions of Green and Imbasciati, and Kleinian developments of this theme, including also the contributions of Bion—in particular the latter's theories concerning thought, in which emotion comes to assume an essential place in the origin of thinking. The author resumes the discussion by taking up his clinical examples, using them to put forward the view that non-discursive expressive elements may well play a decisive role in the construction of meaning in the analytical situation. He suggests also that the meaning of an emotional experience may be thought of as a construction contributed to by a number of symbolic forms which both interfere with and interact with the symbolic system of language. Following examination of his third example, the author reflects on ‘musicality’, a notion sometimes referred to informally in clinical data in connection with the ‘emotional climate’ of the session. He proposes that the complex problem of meaning in music be extended to cover the construction of meaning in the psychoanalytic setting, and in so doing returns to ideas put forward by Suzanne Langer. His underlying view here is that essential elements of the musical phenomenon and essential elements of particular forms of emotional life give rise to the same emotional matrices—perhaps to what Meltzer calls ‘musical deep grammar’. Finally, the author considers various symbolic forms that contribute to the particular configuration of analytical situations, suggesting that the mental condition of ‘free-floating attention’ requires the broad availability to the analyst's mind of a multiplicity of symbolic forms, his conversion of these into new expressions of meaning, and the possibility of their verbal communication by him to the patient.

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