Rom J Psychoanal 2020, 13(2):43-72
DOI: 10.2478/rjp-2020-0016

Abstract: Psychoanalysts try to facilitate their patients’ grasp andunderstanding of themselves. Since the mid-19th century, we have two conceptions of understanding. In one tradition, we need to suspect presented pictures and try to get “behind” facades in order to grasp the “true” self. In this tradition we get a hold of ourselves if we look for the origins: we need to see where we come from. In the other tradition we should not try to “tear off the masks”, but start a dialogue with the text or person we try to understand. If we succeed in this, the truth “steps forward”. In this conception we need to move on to goals and positions not yet attained. According to the general view Freud belongs to the first tradition. The author asks how we view understanding in modern psychoanalysis. Through a reading of (1) the Boston Change Process Study Group, (2) Peter Fonagy and Mary Target and (3) Veikko and Riitta Tähkä he concludes that we in psychoanalysis have moved from the first to the second tradition. He discusses what inferences we should draw regarding technique and theory, concentrating on the phenomena and concepts of interpretation and the unconscious.


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