Frontiers of Infant Psychiatry - Vol. 2

By Justin D. Call; Eleanor Galenson et al. | Go to book overview

35
Comments Concerning the Concept of
Fantasmic Interaction

Serge Lebovici, M.D.

A discussion of the concept of interaction of the fantasies of two individuals (fantasmic interaction) may be puzzling. Behavioral scientists use the term interaction to designate transactions between two separate people, whereas fantasies are wishes representing drive at a psychological level. The aim of the drive is to establish a connection between the mental representation of the self and the mental representation of the internal object, the internal object being essential for a major portion of the organization of drives by means of satisfying needs and wishes.

Psychoanalytic theory offers a clear and coherent explanation of the genesis of fantasies. Satisfaction of the needs of the very young infant cannot be maintained permanently. The baby can, however, reactivate the mnemonic traces of pleasure by stimulating (or utilizing) the autoerotic zones which have given rise to pleasure previously. This takes place during the anaclitic phase. In other words, children can hallucinate pleasure and can create the outlines of the object that has provided satisfaction of their needs by means of a wish. This hallucination partly soothes the internal drive excitation and creates, from a psychological point of view, the object that has provided satisfaction. More likely than not, there is no relation between the actual pleasure experienced and the fantasy satisfied by the fantasied object that was produced by the hallucination of pleasure experienced at an earlier time. At the beginning of life, children who are learning to live psychologically after being separated physically from their mothers have at their disposal the narcissistic power that derives from the unity between them and the maternal care received. Children have to differentiate, in their internal reality and the objects of their external reality, the notion of what they reject and experience as harmful. Fantasies are also influenced at this time by early perceptual capacities and by the double processes of projection and negation.

This brief summary of the fundamental concepts of Freudian metapsychology illustrates the indissoluble relationship between the fantasmic representation of the object, perception, and the early object representations.

It should be noted that for Anna Freud, Spitz, and Winnicott, the initial unit is composed of the newborn and the maternal care received by the newborn. This introduces both the concept of total dependence and of narcissism and development: that is, (1) the ontogenesis of object relations and of fantasy; (2) a dialectical contradiction between the experi

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