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Orange, D.M. (2003). Why Language Matters to Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Dial., 13(1):77-103.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 13(1):77-103

Why Language Matters to Psychoanalysis Related Papers

Donna M. Orange, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Much psychoanalytic vocabulary is embedded in discourses, or language- games, that involve philosophical assumptions that most post-Freudian, relational, and intersubjective systems analysts no longer accept. Terms like transference, projective identification, and representation, however carefully redefined for contemporary purposes, cannot escape their connotative history and loading. It is suggested that psychoanalytic thinkers and practitioners remain open to questioning and being questioned about our use of words, their impact on our attitudes toward our patients, and about our responsibility for disavowed assumptions about human nature and reality.

The phantom of the past is hidden in our present standardized language. Can this be avoided?

—Riccardo Steiner

The overthrow of beliefs is not immediately followed by the overthrow of institutions; rather the new beliefs live for a long time in the now desolated and eerie house of their predecessors, which they themselves preserve, because of the housing shortage.

—Frederich Nietzsche

What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein

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