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Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute & Society

New Wine from Old Bottles: On Conflictwork and Unconscious Fantasy as Conceptual Tools for Clinical Discovery

“Dreamwork” and “unconscious fantasy” are two ancient analytic concepts whose overall clinical and theoretical usefulness have seemed to decline in contemporary psychoanalytic discourse and practice. This clinical/theoretical presentation will take a second look at these apparent relics. Based on the experience of working with varieties of analytic experience which are not verbal and which are analytically approachable as if they are dream fragments, the author describes many discoveries of a lively realm of unconscious connections between unconscious blueprints for conflictual action (unconscious fantasies) and the ingenious camouflaging process (operating like dreamwork) which directs their expression. This systematic coverup of the strategies originating from unconscious fantasy, when illuminated by this clinical experience, allows us more precise understanding as to how the unconscious ego shepherds conflictual intentions toward actualization without painful awareness. It will also be suggested that new elaborations of dreamwork and unconscious fantasy provide some degree of synthesis in the controversy over “one person” vs.“two person” psychology.

James W. Kern, M.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Discussant: Dwarakanath G. Rao, M.D.
Training and Supervising Analyst, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute

Saturday, December 11
2:00 pm
Farmington Hills