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Sosnik, R. (2017). Panel Report, IPA Congress Buenos Aires 2017: Finding Unconscious Fantasy in the Intimacy of the Analytic Encounter. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(6):1797-1800.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(6):1797-1800

Panel Report, IPA Congress Buenos Aires 2017: Finding Unconscious Fantasy in the Intimacy of the Analytic Encounter

Rogelio Sosnik

Chair: Paula Ellman

Presenters: Catalina Bronstein, Irene Cairo, Paula Ellman, Nancy Goodman and Elias da Rocha Barros

Reporter: Rogelio Sosnik

Dr. Paula Ellman opened the panel, by stating that this panel originated from the recently published book by Routledge: Finding Unconscious Fantasy in Narrative, Trauma and Body Pain, which was co-edited with Nancy Goodman. The book aims to explore the place that unconscious fantasy has in the clinical setting. Invited clinicians belonging to different psychoanalytic cultures demonstrate in their clinical presentations and discussions, how they approach unconscious fantasy. On the panel were represented both the clinicians that shared their clinical material, and the discussants of the material. The aim of the panel was to demonstrate the place that the concept of unconscious fantasy occupies in the clinical setting. The emphasis is in the process, the ‘how’ of our psychoanalytic work with patients, and how unconscious fantasy becomes known.

The panel centered on two cases. One was presented by Dr. Irene Cairo and discussed by Dr. Catalina Bronstein. Dr. Werner Bohleber could not be at the meeting to present his case, but Dr. Nancy Goodman and Dr. Elias Rocha Barros offered a discussion of his case material.

Dr. Bohleber wrote: “What the analyst calls unconscious fantasy is rather the verbal articulation of an unsymbolized affective experience … The concept of unconscious fantasy can thus be understood as a metaphor that assists in understanding the patient's psychic material and behaviour.” His case is of a patient with early life trauma being confined in a hospital, to a plaster bed at 18 months of age, without his parents. This event led to a latter development of a sense of timelessness regarding his life, with suicidal ideation, as the result of the splitting and dissociation of his traumatized, needy, infantile self. The patient struggles with sustaining contact with himself and with the other, as it carries separation trauma and contact with the encapsulated traumatized self.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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