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psychoanalytic construction


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In psychoanalysis, an explanation of a person's verbal utterances and actions that is more extensive and further removed from the empirical material than an interpretation (2). Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) introduced this concept in 1937 in an article entitled ‘Constructions in Analysis’ (Standard Edition, XXIII, pp. 257–69), where he suggested that when a correct construction is put to a patient it sometimes results in the emergence of a repressed memory, and that it can be useful even when that does not happen: ‘Quite often we do not succeed in bringing the patient to recollect what has been repressed. Instead of that, if the analysis is carried out correctly, we produce in him an assured conviction of the truth of the construction which achieves the same therapeutic result as the recaptured memory’ (pp. 265–6). Freud's articles ‘Psycho-analytic Notes on an Autobiographical Account of a Case of Paranoia (Dementia Paranoides)’ (1911, Standard Edition, XII, pp. 9–82) and ‘A Child is Being Beaten’ (1919, Standard Edition, XVII, pp. 179–204) contain virtuosic examples of psychoanalytic construction.

Subjects: Psychology.


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