The contemplative dimension of psychoanalysis

Conference paper

Henderson, D. 2014. The contemplative dimension of psychoanalysis. Psychotherapy Meets Africa: 7th World Congress for Psychotherapy. Durban, South Africa 25 - 29 Aug 2014
TypeConference paper
TitleThe contemplative dimension of psychoanalysis
AuthorsHenderson, D.

This paper argues that psychoanalysis is a contemplative practice. The problem of unknowing is ubiquitous in analytic therapy. Many features of apophatic discourse are exemplified in the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. It is these elements which account for the family resemblance among the schools of psychoanalysis. Each school of analysis enacts apophasis in its own particular manner. Aspects of the work of Freud, Jung, Lacan and Bion will be cited to demonstrate this feature. In addition to illuminating aspects of current practice, the foregrounding of the contemplative nature of psychoanalysis opens a path beyond some impasses in psychoanalytic technique. This investigation necessarily alters our perceptions of both ancient apophasis and modern psychoanalysis. As Turner observes, “One understands a tradition when one understands how that past lives in the present… to call upon a tradition is always to reread it, that is to say, to access a tradition is already to have changed it.” By reading psychoanalysis against the contemplative tradition we transform our understanding of both.

Research GroupCentre for Psychoanalysis
ConferencePsychotherapy Meets Africa: 7th World Congress for Psychotherapy
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Sep 2014
Output statusPublished
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