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Colman, W. (2011). Symbolic Objects and the Analytic Frame. J. Anal. Psychol., 56(2):184-202.

(2011). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 56(2):184-202

Symbolic Objects and the Analytic Frame

Warren Colman

With reference to two patients who brought material objects to their sessions (previously discussed in Colman 2010a, 2010b), this paper reconsiders the pre-eminent role of verbal communication in analysis. I suggest that the privileging of words over action derives from Freud's view of the mind in which only that which can be put into words can become conscious. Following Stephen Mitchell (1993), I discuss the way that this view has become relativized by the shift away from an instinctual drive model to a more relational, meaning-making view of the mind. This is then linked to Jung's emphasis on the importance of symbols and the transcendent function and Milner's view of the therapeutic frame as a space for symbolic meaning. Drawing the boundaries of the therapeutic frame in this way allows for symbolic actions within the frame rather than as boundary-crossing deviations from a more narrowly defined frame which allows only for verbal communications.

[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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