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Dunn, J. (1994). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. I, 1993: On Having and Giving Value. Nikolaas Treurniet. Pp. 239-260.. Psychoanal Q., 63:815-816.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. I, 1993: On Having and Giving Value. Nikolaas Treurniet. Pp. 239-260.

(1994). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 63:815-816

The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. I, 1993: On Having and Giving Value. Nikolaas Treurniet. Pp. 239-260.

Jonathan Dunn

Valuing implies both an estimation and a feeling; the act of giving value personalizes one's world. Loving, taking pleasure in, choosing, and giving meaning to are

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part of, but not synonymous with, valuing. The baby must feel itself valuable to its human environment in order to create value for itself as an adult. The child's aggression, rather than being an innate drive, is often an attempt to preserve a sense of value. Theoretical labels are frequently used to devalue and pathologize the child's experience: for instance, the term "childhood omnipotence" may damagingly impose an adult standard on the child's healthy exuberance. Concomitantly, Treurniet argues that the personal agency and subjectivity inherent in the individual's valuing activity is lost in metapsychological concepts that reify mental phenomena. The analyst inevitably conveys his personal values to the patient, and his neutrality must always communicate an affirmative value with respect to the patient's whole inner life: the greatest potential of psychoanalysis is to help the patient create value in his or her life.

This analytic task is parallel to the functional value of civilization, namely, that it provides its members with the freedom to create value through culture. Society's ideologies and denial systems are unmasked by such individual freedom. Exposing the illusory quality of the community's ideals in this way may cause insecurity and disorganization, and to regain equilibrium and security, society's attention to the external world may constrict in a self-serving and/or dishonest manner. But, like the "holding" function of the analyst, a society that provides safety to its citizens through democracy and a free press can withstand such an open investigation of its values. Treurniet's critique also includes the misuse of technology, the "New Left" of the 1960's, and the political process and the media in America.

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Article Citation

Dunn, J. (1994). The Dutch Annual of Psychoanalysis. I, 1993. Psychoanal. Q., 63:815-816

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