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Erreich, A. (2003). A Modest Proposal: (Re)Defining Unconscious Fantasy. Psychoanal Q., 72(3):541-574.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 72(3):541-574

A Modest Proposal: (Re)Defining Unconscious Fantasy

Anne Erreich, Ph.D.

The author argues that unconscious fantasy, properly defined, necessarily represents the three-dimensional intersection of wishful thinking (fantasy), veridical perception of the environment (reality), and the naive cognition of childhood. It is proposed that, although attachment theory developed out of the intent to capture the unalloyed reality of dyadic experience, that experience is inextricably entangled with the other two components, wishes and naive cognition, and furthermore, that the behavior of children in the attachment paradigm can only be accounted for by positing the existence of underlying unconscious fantasies. In making these arguments, the author also addresses the development of unconscious fantasies and their relationship to compromise formations and trauma.

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