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Ghent, E. (1992). Paradox and Process. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(2):135-159.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(2):135-159

Paradox and Process

Emmanuel Ghent, M.D.

A paradox must be accepted on its own terms, without resolution, and, at the same time, valued as a pointer to a new level of comprehension. Many of the phenomena we encounter in our psychoanalytic work have simultaneously a quality of remarkable similarity and radical, even contradictory, dissimilarity. The apparent paradox is ultimately resolvable by an understanding of the process that underlies and therefore relates the phenomena. The twin dangers that inhere in dealing with paradox and process are, first, the inability to accept the paradox, that is, a premature resolution of it, and, second, a clinging to the paradox so as to avoid articulating the process that would allow one to climb into a new grasp of reality. Among the questions touched on in this paper are: How can there both be and not be a baby inside? How can there be both need and no need at the same time? How can there be both destruction and transcendence in the same moment?

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