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(1984). Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East. Psychoanal Q., 53:503-505.

(1984). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 53:503-505

Meeting of the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East

January 10, 1983. INSIGHT AND THE ACTION SYSTEM: WORKING THROUGH TO CHANGE. Arthur F. Valenstein, M.D.

Dr. Valenstein stated that insight remains the paramount aim of psychoanalysis, despite current emphasis on experiential recapitulation of early object relations in the transference. In Dr. Valenstein's 1962 contribution, "Affects, Emotional Reliving and Insight in the Psychoanalytic Process," he had proposed that affects and experiential reliving are clinically interlocked with cognitive concomitants in the psychoanalytic process. The acquisition of insight is gradual and tortuous, and it is intimately connected with the concept of working through. Only when insight has been slowly anchored to changing action patterns, by means of working through, can it be considered a "mutative insight." But the role and relevance of action has challenged analysts from the time of Freud and Ferenczi to the present.

Roy Schafer, by introducing the concept of "action language," has recently attempted to return to a monistic model of mental functioning: he has postulated that the only psychic agency is the person who acts intentionally and responsively. Schafer thus leaves no room for the structural theory which espouses a schematic model of the mind as the integration of varied functional agencies, a theory which respects that fundamental operational consequence of human development and mental functioning, psychic conflict. According to Dr.

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