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The Intrapsychic and Interactional Realms: A Hermeneutic approach to Mental Space

Rizzolo, Gregory S (2014) 'The Intrapsychic and Interactional Realms: A Hermeneutic approach to Mental Space.' Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 62 (3). pp. 423-453. ISSN 0003-0651

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Abstract

This paper addresses the tension between Freud's emphasis on the intrapsychic world and the emphasis placed by the Boston Change Process Study Group (BCPSG) on real interaction. Freud claimed that the intrapsychic world is primary; the BCPSG claim that interaction is primary. Both assume that these "levels" are discrete domains that can be isolated empirically, and that interact according to regulative rules in the natural world. This assumption reifies the metaphorical concept of mental space and freezes it at the metapsychological level of discourse. From a hermeneutic perspective, we must put these metaphorical concepts in dialogue with the context-specific processes of interpreting the patient's communication and intervening therapeutically. It then becomes clear that (1) the meaning of the terms "intrapsychic" and "interactive" is context-sensitive; (2) the question of primacy is a pragmatic one that cannot be decided through metapsychological debate; (3) when we say that a behavior or mental process operates on the "intrapsychic" or "interactive" level, we are making a judgment call that is not based on reason (even if our judgment enlists reason in its support). These metapsychological constructs help us think about our experience with patients. However, their meaning exists largely as a potential and is never definitively determined.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: hermeneutics; metaphor; BCPSG; intrapsychic; interactive; interpersonal; Ricoeur; relational; Freud; Spence
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2015 15:05
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2015 15:05
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14243

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