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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Olinick, S.L. (1982). Meanings Beyond Words: Psychoanalytic Perceptions of Silence and Communication, Happiness, Sexual Love and Death. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 9:461-472.

(1982). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 9:461-472

Meanings Beyond Words: Psychoanalytic Perceptions of Silence and Communication, Happiness, Sexual Love and Death

Stanley L. Olinick


Phatic communication, with its goal of a comforting silence, is defined and illustrated with clinical and literary examples as making affective, reassuring social contact, as distinguished from communicating ideas. Phatic phenomena are ubiquitous and narcissistically derived; they are

traced to a nostalgic yearning that is defensive and/or adaptive to the threat of loss or separation. In this context, which is one combined of conflict as well as of incomplete separation-individuation, 'anxiety of discovery' and 'shock of recognition' are terms having reference to various forms of the return of the repressed, whether this is experienced as intrapsychic or interpersonal phenomenology. In many adults there is an active, uncanny, nostalgic yearning, manifested toward some real and/or imagined experience, object, or feeling-state of the earliest years. A benign regression is implicit in such 'transitional' transferential phenomena; it seeks closure for unfinished and unresolved developmental processes and conflicts. Implications are discussed for psychoanalytic therapy, and for views and attitudes toward happiness, sexual love, and death.

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