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Salomonsson, B. (2006). The Aesthetic Dimension of the Psychoanalytic Process. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 29(1):2-12.

(2006). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 29(1):2-12

The Aesthetic Dimension of the Psychoanalytic Process

Björn Salomonsson, M.D.

Nur zu Verlierern spricht das Verwandelte. Alle Haltenden würgen.

The transformed speaks only to relinquishers. All holders-on are stranglers.

(Rilke, 1917/1996, p. 126)

This paper brings out one perspective on the experiences of the analytic couple, and transposes it into a general perspective on the analytic process: its aesthetic dimension. It is a combined epistemological and emotional perspective that is open to both participants. By an intense preoccupation with and distance to the object, the subject tries to reconcile the object's exterior form with its imagined content. This perspective offers itself most advantageously in highly emotional situations, in which analyst and analysand feel the pain of being outsiders to each other. They are thrown back on making guesses about the other's intimations. It can bring them into indifference or despair - or it can bring out an aesthetic experience. A situation, until now unbearable, suddenly reveals its surprising potential. The theoretical discussion will be illustrated by a discussion taken from the Talmud and by two clinical examples: one from the psychoanalysis with an infant and her mother, the other with a latency girl. The paper also accounts for the aesthetic as a philosophical and psychoanalytic concept. Some recurrent topics, especially those of form and content, reflect the aesthetic experience as our continuous struggle to reconcile outward form with interior content. This struggle will be formulated as a continuation of the infantile aesthetic conflict, following Meltzer.

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