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Linn, L. (1954). Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society. Psychoanal Q., 23:151-153.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:151-153

Meetings of the New York Psychoanalytic Society

Louis Linn


Margolin defines the symbol as the only form of communication whose content and structure are directly related to processes and events in the unconscious, thereby differentiating it from other terms, such as sign, signal, simile, metaphor, allegory, which are loosely used as synonyms. This distinction is of practical importance; for example, an allegorical interpretation is not only of no therapeutic value in psychoanalysis, but may intensify some of the patient's defenses. He states that symbol formation tends to take place about concepts which have significance for biological survival and which are associated with a somatic sensory component. Symbol formation takes place later in life only exceptionally, and then in association with certain unprecedented life situations as, for example, the appearance of diabetes in an adolescent who was treated as a young adult.

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