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Hewison, D. (2002). Internet Discussion Forum Summary. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(4):656.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(4):656

Internet Discussion Forum Summary

Summarized by David Hewison

Symbolic attitude and reverie: problems of symbolization in children and adolescents’ by Gustav Bovensiepen and ‘Response to Gustav Bovensiepen’ by Donald Kalsched

(J. Anal. Psychol., 2002, 47, 2, 241-63)

Surprisingly, given that there were two papers to possibly comment on, there were only two responses. The first was from Reid Anderson of Hampton, Virginia, USA. He appreciated Bovensiepen's mix of Bion and other post-Kleinian writers as well as Winnicott, and the way Bovensiepen had integrated these into complex theory. In addition, he noted the importance of the impact of the analyst and analytic process on the analysand. Referring to Kalsched's ‘Response’ he commented:

it is the ability to recognize that because we are in the soup of a mercurial or daimonic process, one's person and one's interventions are often perceived as divergent from intentions or expectations, which must be understood and worked through in the myriad of analysand ‘distortions’. Typically, it is painful to recognize how we could possibly recapitulate earlier trauma, especially when least expected. It is equally difficult to work creatively through this, often opaque, awareness to find a mutuality that can be metabolized and lead to repair of the symbolic or integrative capacity.

He felt that Bovensiepen's description of ‘Tom’ was an example of how this could be done well.

The second response was from Mats Winther of Stockholm, Sweden. He took issue with Bovensiepen's use of the transcendent function and active imagination when talking about symbolization in children, noting that both are more properly associated with mid-life psychological processes and that children could not be said to be sufficiently developed psychologically to make use of these processes.

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