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Gammelgaard, J. Kristiansen, S. (2017). The screen function of unconscious fantasy. Scand. Psychoanal. Rev., 40(1):1-11.

(2017). Scandinavian Psychoanalytic Review, 40(1):1-11


The screen function of unconscious fantasy

Judy Gammelgaard and Sølvi Kristiansen

Although being a fundamental concept in psychoanalysis, fantasy is an ambiguous term. It covers a vast field of conscious and unconscious phenomena, from daydreaming, the manifest narration of the patient’s world of imagination to unconscious fantasy and primal fantasy. Further, it introduces the delicate alternatives of imaginary versus real, subject versus object and internal versus external. Following Freud’s reflections on the ambiguity of fantasy, we arrive at an idea introduced by Freud himself, but elaborated years later by Lacan. Fantasy, accordingly, is seen as a screen which both reveals and conceals. Our aim is to demonstrate, theoretical as well as clinical, how unconscious fantasy serves as a window into not only repressed wishes and conflicts, but also the most primary scenes where the subject may not even have a specific place. Simultaneously, it is the site of protection and defence, including projection and denial, but also repetition of what we will call the identical. A clinical case will be presented to illustrate our theoretical ideas and their clinical implications.

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