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Freedman, N. Russell, J. (2003). Symbolization of the Analytic Discourse. Psychoanal. Contemp. Thought, 26(1):39-87.

(2003). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 26(1):39-87

Symbolization of the Analytic Discourse

Norbert Freedman and Jared Russell

Symbolization—the linking of experiences from distinct spheres of the mind, where one represents the other—is encountered in any careful reading of an analytic hour. It is a mental quality demanded by analytic treatment, regardless of theoretical orientation. It is part of common ground. The hypothesis of incremental symbolization is introduced. Following Cassirer, we recognize symbolic forms as determining tendencies; they are determined and yet at the same time are generative in nature. Four symbolic forms are described as they are met in psychoanalytic discourse: (1) incipient symbolization; (2) discursive symbolization; (3) dynamic symbolization; and (4) desymbolization. Each of these is identifiable in spoken language. Each reaches deeply into the concerns of contemporary psychoanalytic thought. We link our observations on symbolization to transitional states as developed by Winnicott; to reflective functioning as developed by Fonagy and Target; to the symbolization of unconscious conflict; and finally to dissociation. The interpenetration of symbolic forms within a single psychoanalytic hour is described. Each of the

forms is also specified through empirical observation. We thus recognize two pathways toward psychoanalytic knowing: the clinical-conceptual and the empirical. The paper concludes with some reflections upon an optimal representation of psychoanalytic discourse. It is proposed to regard this as a process of incremental symbolic knowing. This view is contrasted with the current interest in implicit relational knowing offered by Stern.

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