On Freud's "The Unconscious"
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If there ever was one word that could represent the essence of Freud’s work, that word would be ‘unconscious’. Indeed, Freud himself regarded his 1915 paper ‘The Unconscious’ as central to clarifying the fundamentals of his metapsychology. The paper delineates the topographic model of the mind and spells out the concepts of primary and secondary process thinking, thing and word presentations, timelessness of the unconscious, condensation and symbolism, unconscious problem solving, and the relationship between the system Ucs and repression. Examining these proposals in the light of contemporary psychoanalytic theory as well as from the perspective of current neurophysiology and ethology, nine distinguished analysts take Freud’s ideas further in ways that have implications for both psychoanalytic theory and practice.
Reviews and Endorsements
'Psychoanalysis evolved essentially as a psychology of the unconscious. This very scholarly and fascinating compendium explores the current concepts of the unconscious. A broad spectrum of authors clearly and cogently present evidence supporting diverse propositions. Descriptive, dynamic, neurobiological, and cultural issues are comprehensively examined, facilitating comparison and evaluation. The reader is invited to review such historically relevant, inherent controversy as unconscious problem solving versus the unconscious dominated by the primary process. Salman Akhtar and Mary O'Neil's thoughtful selection and careful editing result in an impressive contribution to the psychoanalytic literature. A century after Freud's papers on meta-psychology this volume provides a very valuable contemporary reference resource on the unconscious.'
- Harold P. Blum, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Supervising and Training Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Institute of the New York Medical Center
'The broad ranging essays in this volume challenge, explore and expand upon the seminal paper of 1915 on "The Unconscious". In so doing, they reaffirm its position as one of Freud’s most generative metapsychological achievements and as the forerunner of some of the past century’s most important developments in psychoanalytic thought.'
- Howard B. Levine, MD, Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East (PINE), and author of Unrepresented States and the Construction of Meaning: Clinical and Theoretical Contributions
About the Editor(s)
Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.
Mary Kay O'Neil, a Supervising and Training Analyst of the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis, is in private practice in Montreal, Quebec. Currently, she is Associate Director of the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis (Quebec, English). She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, where she was on the staff at the University of Toronto Psychiatric Service and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. She is author of The Unsung Psychoanalyst: The Quiet Influence of Ruth Easser and co-editor of Confidentiality: Ethical Perspectives and Clinical Dilemmas. Her research and publications include articles in areas such as depression and young adult development, emotional needs of sole-support mothers and their children, post-analytic contact between analyst and analysand, and psychoanalytic ethics. She has served on psychoanalytic ethics committees at local, national, and international levels; as a reviewer for JAPA, the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis; and, currently, on the North American Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis.
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