Fantasizing As Process, Not Fantasizing As Content: The Importance of Mental Organization
It is suggested that the traditional way of thinking about and working with unconscious fantasy inadvertently retains outdated topographical approaches to analytic technique. Shifting our analytic emphasis to the process of unconscious fantasizing better accounts for the importance of mental organization in understanding psychopathological phenomena and guiding analytic technique. This reformulation has two significant implications: (1) It highlights the importance of making the process of fantasizing conscious because access to this process can facilitate the analytic process and the attainment of insightfulness; and (2) It also emphasizes the need eventually to explore the reasons a patient chooses fantasy over abstract, symbolic modes of experiencing and communicating internal phenomena. The author borrows from his child analytic experience technical concepts (e.g., play, displacement) which can promote the fantasizing process in adults. Clinical vignettes will illustrate his ideas.
Alan Sugarman, Ph.D
Training Analyst, Supervising Child and Adult Analyst
San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute
Don Spivak, M.D.
Lecturer, Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute
Saturday, September 24, 2005
4448 East Hall Building, University of Michigan