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Gullestad, S.E. (2007). “Thinking” — in a Psychoanalytic Perspective: Some Introductory Remarks. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 30(2):94-97.

(2007). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 30(2):94-97

“Thinking” — in a Psychoanalytic Perspective: Some Introductory Remarks

Siri Erika Gullestad, Dr. Philos.

The theme of the XX Nordic Psychoanalytic Congress, Oslo, August 2006 was Thinking – in a psychoanalytic perspective. Now, thinking is generally not viewed as a primary occupation of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis comes forward first and foremost as a theory of unconscious motivation and fantasies, intra-psychic conflicts, affects and object-relations. However, thinking in the form of free associations, day-dreaming and fantasies are at the heart of psychoanalytic treatment, as well as regressive thought processes, faulty logic, primary processes and lack of mentalisation. At the clinical level, the analyst obviously deals with thought processes and pathology of thought. In the context of assessment, capacity for thinking and reflecting constitutes a crucial dimension. However, it seems warranted to say that exploration of cognitive processes seldom represents a theoretical main point in today's psychoanalytical articles.

At the former Nordic Psychoanalytic Congress which was held in Copenhagen in 2004, the theme was feelings and emotional life. this theme represented a challenge to a dialogue with contemporary affect theory. Likewise, the Scientific Committee of the XX Congress found that it would be a challenge for us as psychoanalysts to make explicit our understanding of thinking. the cognitive parts of human personality should be lifted to the foreground and subjected to systematic study from a psychoanalytic point of view. This will make possible a dialogue with cognitive psychology and – neuroscience, representing fields of research that have provided important scientific contributions in recent years, and also – if we want – with cognitive therapy, a treatment explicitly addressing the patient's thought processes.

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