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Int J Psychoanal. 2006 Feb;87(Pt 1):83-103.

Implicit memory and early unrepressed unconscious: their role in the therapeutic process (how the neurosciences can contribute to psychoanalysis).

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The author discusses memory from the point of view of the neurosciences and molecular biology, proposing an integration with the psychoanalytic theory of the unconscious. The discovery of the implicit memory has extended the concept of the unconscious and supports the hypothesis that this is where the emotional and affective--sometimes traumatic--presymbolic and preverbal experiences of the primary mother-infant relations are stored. They could form the ground structure of an early unrepressed unconscious nucleus of the self. Identifying the unconscious with the memory leads to a theory about its morpho-functional organization. The unrepressed unconscious can be brought to the surface in analysis through the 'musical dimension' of the transference, characterized by the voice (its intonation and rhythm) and the prosody of the language. Dreams can symbolically transform pre-symbolic and preverbal experiences, so that they can be put into words and thought about even without their recollection. Dreams can also create images to fi ll the gap of the absence of representation which characterize the unrepressed unconscious. The description of a segment of analysis of a patient suffering from death anxiety provides a clinical illustration of the theories discussed. The interpretation of her voice and of the prosody of her language, besides the work on dreams, reproduced the emotional essence of the analysand's traumatic childhood experiences. This reconstruction enabled her to speak and think about them even without the actual recollection.

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