The Dissociative Mind in Psychoanalysis – Edited by Elizabeth F. Howell and Sheldon Itzkowitz


        Image courtesy of puttsk at

Routledge 2016 – page 7 of 272

“Even though psychoanalysis began in the study of dissociation, not long after its inception, Freud redefined the data of psychoanalysis, moving the topic of inquiry away from an explicit exploration of trauma and of dissociated experiences and dissociated mental structure.  And for the most part psychoanalysts followed suit, like their forefather, all too often ignoring the importance of exogamous traumatic reality.

A theoretical model of mind acts as a scheme that structures our experience of reality and our understanding of our patients and of ourselves.  Barnett (1966) explains, ‘It is a commonplace observation that the psychoanalytic theory one uses influences one’s perception of clinical reality’. (p. 88)

Psychoanalysts who privilege repression and the drive-defence-fantasy model of Freud and who think along classical Freudian lines are more likely to attribute symptomatology to conflict between the drive and the defense than the emergence of dissociated material.  This is not to gainsay the importance of the drive-defense model or of Freud’s inestimable contribution to understanding the human mind.”

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