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Ogden, T.H. (2019). Ontological Psychoanalysis or “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”. Psychoanal Q., 88(4):661-684.

(2019). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 88(4):661-684

Original Articles

Ontological Psychoanalysis or “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?”

Thomas H. Ogden

The author discusses differences between what he calls epistemological psychoanalysis (having to do with knowing and understanding), for which Freud and Klein are principal authors, and ontological psychoanalysis (having to do with being and becoming), for which Winnicott and Bion are principal architects. Winnicott shifts the focus of psychoanalysis from the symbolic meaning of play to the experience of playing, and Bion shifts the focus from the symbolic meaning of dreams to the experience of dreaming in all of its forms. Epistemological psychoanalysis principally involves the work of arriving at understandings of unconscious meaning; by contrast, the goal of ontological psychoanalysis is that of allowing the patient the experience of creatively discovering meaning for himself, and in that state of being, becoming more fully alive.

[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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