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Freud: memory and the metapsychological witch

Batsch, MNT; (2015) Freud: memory and the metapsychological witch. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In this study, I explore the connections between Freud’s metapsychology and the practice of psychoanalysis. Until his very last papers, Freud continued to assert that the specificity of the genuine psychoanalytic cure was the research of infantile memory. In 1937 he wrote: “What we are in search of is a picture of the patient’s forgotten years that shall be alike trustworthy and in all essential respects complete” (Freud, 1937b, p.258). In order to perceive how this picture of a patient’s forgotten years is to be found not in the discovery of an archive-memory but through the construction of an infantile mode of thinking, it is necessary to go back to a theory of memory that Freud elaborated during the first twenty years of his metapsychological work. Reminiscences are not faithful representations of the past but the outcome of a conflict between conscious and unconscious ideas. In the same way, memory is not an apparatus that registers the past but a system that inscribes contingent scenes of existence within a psychical destiny. Freud researched this psychical destiny through the description of an unconscious mode of thinking and through the invention of a new form of writing: a metapsychological writing. I propose to read the construction of a metapsychology as a grid on which one can write unconscious ideas. My focus throughout this work is to understand the functioning of the metapsychological grid and to answer the question of what it reveals in the clinical encounter. I discovered that the answer to this question could be located in Freud’s clinical paper A Child is Being Beaten (1919) and it involved the construction of a masochistic phantasy. A Child is Being Beaten stands, therefore, outside the timescale of this thesis, as an icon that captures the discursive argument of the whole.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Freud: memory and the metapsychological witch
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1468437
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