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Zeddies, T.J. (2002). More Than Just Words: A Hermeneutic View of Language in Psychoanalysis. Psychoanal. Psychol., 19(1):3-23.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 19(1):3-23

More Than Just Words: A Hermeneutic View of Language in Psychoanalysis

Timothy J. Zeddies, Ph.D.

Contemporary psychoanalysis does not have a consistent view on language. Some view language as the bedrock of all communication, whereas others argue that the nonverbal is constitutive of human experience. These divergent points of view are given voice in a recent exchange in this journal between two prominent post-Freudian analysts, Doris Silverman and Stephen Mitchell. The present article suggests that a broader conceptualization of language is needed. The author endorses the hermeneutic view that language is the primary and fundamental medium through which culture, tradition, and custom are transmitted down through history. He reviews the work of psychoanalytic writers who reflect a hermeneutic sensibility and then offers a view of language for psychoanalysis based in hermeneutic principles.

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