On Freud's "Negation"

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Salman Akhtar, Mary Kay O'Neil
Karnac Books, Jul 7, 2011 - Psychology - 304 pages
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Ever since Freud proposed that certain ideas can be permitted to become conscious only in their inverted and negative forms, interest has grown into the entire realm of the presence of absence, so to speak. Or, perhaps, it is better to term such mental contents as the presence in the form of absence. These two ways of conceptualizing Freud's negation have led to a panoply of ideas that include negative hallucination, psychic holes, negative narcissism, selfishly motivated erasure of the Other, and the so-called "work of the negative". This volume elucidates these concepts and refines the distinction between Freud's negation and subsequently described mental mechanisms of denial, repudiation, isolation, and undoing. The book also provides contemporary perspectives on the developmental underpinnings of negation and the technical usefulness of the concept, including its implicit role in negative therapeutic reactions. A thought-provoking and conceptually illuminating volume.

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The work of the negative and hallucinatory activity
the unrepresentable negative
The negative in dreams
The effects of negation on the analystanalysand
From psychic holes to psychic representations
Negation negative capability

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About the author (2011)

Salman Akhtar, MD, was born in India and completed his medical and psychiatric education there. Upon arriving in the USA in 1973, he repeated his psychiatric training at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and then obtained psychoanalytic training from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute. Currently, he is Professor of Psychiatry at Jefferson Medical College and a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. He has authored, edited or co-edited more than 300 publications including books on psychiatry and psychoanalysis and several collections of poetry. He is also a Scholar-in-Residence at the Inter-Act Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Salman Akhtar received the Sigourney Award in 2012.

Mary Kay O'Neil, a Supervising and Training Analyst of the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis, is in private practice in Montreal, Quebec. Currently, she is Associate Director of the Canadian Institute of Psychoanalysis (Quebec, English). She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, where she was on the staff at the University of Toronto Psychiatric Service and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. She is author of 'The Unsung Psychoanalyst: The Quiet Influence of Ruth Easser' and co-editor of 'Confidentiality: Ethical Perspectives and Clinical Dilemmas'. Her research and publications include articles in areas such as depression and young adult development, emotional needs of sole-support mothers and their children, post-analytic contact between analyst and analysand, and psychoanalytic ethics. She has served on psychoanalytic ethics committees at local, national, and international levels; as a reviewer for JAPA, the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis; and, currently, on the North American Editorial Board of the 'International Journal of Psychoanalysis'.

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