Unconscious fantasy and schema: A comparison of concepts

Ellen Rees

in From the Couch to the Lab

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600526
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754753 | DOI:
Unconscious fantasy and schema: A comparison of concepts

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This chapter explores the possible relatedness of a central psychoanalytic concept, unconscious fantasy, and a concept from cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology, schema. Since each of these concepts is embedded in an understanding of unconscious processing within its own discipline, the chapter examines how these understandings relate or do not relate to one another. A particularly thorny problem in an effort to compare psychoanalytic concepts to concepts in the cognitive neurosciences is our current inability to understand and thus to articulate the relationship between the cognitive unconscious and the dynamic unconscious. And yet, the potential for the interpenetration of these concepts of unconscious functioning offers each discipline a fruitful new vantage point. The psychoanalytic concept, unconscious fantasy, offers a rich theoretical arena for an investigation of the relationship between these conceptual domains because it invites a consideration of the contributions of perception, affect, sensation, memory, and modes of representation within a developmental, maturational, and interpersonal context. The paper also addresses some of the epistemological problems that are unavoidable when we make an effort to compare concepts from different domains of knowledge.

Chapter.  6257 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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