Retelling a Life: Narration and Dialogue in Psychoanalysis

Retelling a Life: Narration and Dialogue in Psychoanalysis

Retelling a Life: Narration and Dialogue in Psychoanalysis

Retelling a Life: Narration and Dialogue in Psychoanalysis

Synopsis

Numerous clinical examples illustrate the author's approach, which exploits the usefulness of narratological and dialogical considerations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Excerpt

RETELLING A LIFE rests on the foundation of my work on action language (1976, 1978, 1983). I presented action language as "a new language for psychoanalysis," one designed to replace the mechanistic language of Freud's metapsychology. Metapsychology features an obsolete theory of mind as a mental apparatus. Yet the language of metapsychology has continued to shape much of the thinking and many of the expositions of mainstream, mostly North American Freudian analysts.

In my proposed new language for theory, I use action in the broad sense that characterizes much of its use in the philosophy of mind, action, and ethics. In its broad sense, action refers to far more than overt behavior; it refers as well to whatever it is that people may be said to do, and in this respect it stands in contrast to happenings, those events in which one's own human agency plays no discernible or contextually relevant part (for example, a rainstorm or receiving a misaddressed letter a week late). Among the things that people do is perceive, remember, imagine, love, hate, fear, defend, and refrain from overt activity. In psychoanalytic discussion, special emphasis is then placed on what people do unconsciously and conflictually (fantasize, remember, love, defend, and so forth).

Subjective experience itself is viewed as a construction of human agency. Experience is not simply "there in the mind" waiting to be found and retrieved by objective introspection. Different people tend . . .

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