IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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As noted throughout this discussion, these two attentional sets tend to oscillate in everyday clinical process. Yet sometimes a particular attentional set will be prioritized, depending on the nature of clinical process, clinical goals of the analyst, and phases in treatment. The immersed analyst primarily engages a diffuse attentional set, in order to be receptive to unconscious emanations as they occur in the dynamic field. Then, an observational, directed and causal attentional process can be engaged, depending on the way in which the analyst organizes the unconscious phenomena that have arisen. Historical re-transcription is one such use, but another would be a redistribution of projected splits, while another involves the re-integration of dissociated self-states. Still another may involve the naming (and thereby symbolizing) heretofore unrepresented states. Much of these differentiations occur in retrospect, ‘Nachträglich’ (Cassorla 2005, 2012), as the oscillation occurs naturally within clinical process. A diffuse attentional set is primarily engaged in the effort to integrate dissociative phenomena, eloquently described by Stern (1997) as unformulated experience , the receptivity to which requires more diffuse attentional processes. Dissociated splits can be comprised of split-off affects, a sense of something as yet unstructured and non-symbolized, or as unrepresented self-states. Unformulated experience is not limited to the verbal register and it is experience that does not yet exist except as potential. It is what experience can become (Stern, 1997, 2015). These previously unformulated self-states then emerge in the transference/countertransference experience. A similar distinction between the two sets, though not a one-to-one correspondence, can be made between Laplanche’s (1999) filled-in transferences ( transfert en plein ) and the hollowed-out transference ( transfert en creux ). The former involves the repetition of childhood imagoes and scenarios whereas the hollowed-out transference represents the emergence of the analysand’s originary relation to the enigmatic (m)other. The former (filled-in transferences) are interpreted through directed associative links with the analysand’s historical images and memories in order to make room for the ‘hollowed out space’ of the analytic setting (see also Scarfone, 2015). This form of transference requires the analyst not to know , not to fill in the space , and instead to have a receptive, diffuse attentional set ready to receive unconscious emanations.


In Latin America , the ideas about the analytical field – a space-time where nothing happens to one of the members of the analytical dyad that does not resonate in the other – has been part of psychoanalytic culture long before the concept has been fully articulated and theorized by the Barangers.


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