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Int J Psychoanal. 1981;62(Pt 2):151-75.

Psychoanalytic interpretation and cognitive transformation.


Psychoanalytic metapsychology should be recognized for what it is, namely a theory of cognition and affect that is not derived directly from clinical data but is advanced in order to provide the development background that will let us deal with the clinical findings of psychoanalysis as aberrations of and deviations from the normal and expected evolution of the thinking process. Its cornerstone is Freud's belief that thought depends on the forging of links between the sensory perception of objects and their appropriate verbal descriptions. He made no secret of his dissatisfaction with his metapsychology and repeatedly revised it in an attempt to encompass those clinical discoveries of psychoanalysis that outstripped the explanatory power of that metapsychology and demonstrated its shortcomings. Using what we now know about normal development in infancy and childhood through the work of Piaget, Vygotsky and other investigators, it is possible to formulate an explanatory theory that does justice to the varied and complex findings uncovered by the application of the psychoanalytic method. For example, the significance of Freud's postulated second censorship between the preconscious and consciousness, as well as the importance of the defence of disavowal that Freud emphasized in his writings after 1927, can now be accounted for with a theory of thought formation that was not available to the founder of psychoanalysis. The implications of this proposed reformulation for psychoanalytic interpretation and for the application of psychoanalysis to an increasingly wide range of psychopathology is discussed in some detail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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