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Opdal, L.C. (2012). The Object and the Other: A Complex View. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 35(1):2-8.

(2012). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 35(1):2-8

The Object and the Other: A Complex View

Lars Christian Opdal, M.D.

Formation of inner objects has many sources; experiences in the meeting with the other constitute a considerable part. Other sources may be drive impulses related to somatic and constitutional factors, which may also contribute to the creation of unconscious fantasies and assumptions. The experience of meeting the other in the analytic situation will also contain such a multiplicity of components. Current and past relationships, conscious and unconscious factors play a part, and hence the experience of the situation in the here-and-now may become complex and manifold. The meeting between analyst and analysand not only prepares the ground for the actualization of inner objects that repeat earlier crucial experiences in relation to others. The analytic situation is also characterized by the unknown, extending beyond the actual situation. Facing this realization, the analyst tries to keep in mind the possibility of a complexity yet to be known. This emphasis on openness to the unknown, to that which we have yet to understand, is a fundamental attitude in psychoanalytic work. Through reflections on a clinical vignette, this paper seeks to discuss the basis for this attitude, and to outline some of its consequences for analytic work.

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