37 Chapters
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6. Integrating Sleep and Dream Research

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

The late Max Stern wrote an important book. Repetition and Trauma: Toward a Teleonomic Theory of Psychoanalysis, and I was highly privileged to write the introduction. Stern was interested in people and in what made them tick. His special area of interest, the focus of his book, was in bridging neuroscientific and psychoanalytic insights regarding the effects of traumatic experience. Henry Krystals work in the area of trauma frequently builds on insights gained by Stern over years of carefully psychoanalyzing patients.

It is of great interest to me that some of Stern’s conclusions regarding the effects of traumatic states, and those of other schools of psychoanalysis (for example, conclusions of self psychologists regarding so-called arrests in development), dovetail neatly both with Freud’s insights, as summarized in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), and with pioneering research on sleep and dreams. The chapter that follows attempts to survey Stern’s work on psychological trauma and then to carry it forward in a synthetic view of sleep and dreams. Although my theory of REM/nonREM sleep remains to be proven or disproven, it seems consistent with a large body of evidence within these two domains.

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CHAPTER TEN: The conundrum of conscious and unconscious relations: Part 2-The tagging of memory, the dynamic unconscious, and the executive control network (ECN)

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Fred Levin, John Gedo, Masao Ito, and Colwyn Trevarthen 68

Introduction

In Part 1 of this essay (Chapter Nine), we introduced our central subject of conscious–unconscious relations; now we wish to build upon what we have already discussed. We made clear the complicated history of research in this area, including some difficulties in defining terms.

Having provided background for our initial discussion, most of our effort was to introduce the original ideas of Ito (1998) by way of his evolutionary model of brain, and his efforts to bridge to the Freud of the structural model. We elaborated upon the role of the cerebellum because this area of Ito’s work is particularly refined, and because it appears to us to lend itself to making some better approaches to understanding our central subject.

We believe that we can now provide a suitable synthesis of Parts 1 and 2 (the previous and current Chapters) in which we identify what conscious, non-conscious, and unconscious modules seem designed to provide to the overall system. However, to accomplish this we first need to consider the research of Shevrin and of Posner, which follows immediately.

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CHAPTER FOUR: A neuro-psychoanalytic theory of emotion, Part 2: Comments on Critical commentaries

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Fred M. Levin

Précis: In the previous chapter we considered the lead articles in the inaugural issue of the journal Neuro-Psychoanalysis (NP), the ones by Mark Solms and Edward Nersessian, and by Jaak Panksepp. This chapter comments on the commentaries by those listed in the title above. Each of these individuals reacts personally and creatively, clarifying what is salient for himself. By examining their commentaries we can better appreciate their thinking on NP, and the nature of the ongoing debate between how best to integrate neuroscience and psychoanalysis, or even, whether they see this as a desirable goal. We need to be careful, however, because serious scholars, out of their intensity to calibrate their own opinions and the opinions of others, and meet complex philosophical requirements within their disciplines, often sound unfriendly to “outsiders”. I believe this happens not because they are so much unfriendly as intense, which can be difficult for others to deal with. I hope the reader also gives me the benefit of the doubt when I take what mayappear to be too strong a position against one or another commentator in what follows, out of my own intensity to at least find good questions, if not yet good answers.

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1. Metaphor, Affect; and Arousal: How Interpretations Might Work

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

Chapter 1 explores the power of words, particularly those words psychoanalysts call ‘interpretations/’ Growing up with impressions of the oratorical skill of people like Adlai Stevenson and Abraham Heschel, I became curious about what it is about certain forms of verbal expression that can excite the imagination. Man’s emotional aliveness (his “affectivity”), expressed at times through words, appears to work through the redirection of attention and the alteration of critical brain thresholds for memory, insight, and learning.

The clinical material presented in this chapter is largely self-explanatory. The observations and speculations regarding neurophysiology are, however, more complex. Perhaps it will help some readers, therefore, to focus on the central concept of [bridging] which is approached from multiple perspectives. Bridging is important because it involves making connections, for example, between past and present experience, between personal experience (affect) and logical categories (cognition), between observations (sensation) and reminiscence (memory), or between conflicting tendencies or drives. “Such is the stuff as dreams [and therapy] are made on,” and this chapter approaches such phenomena as bridging with the question: How does it work? The end result is a synthesis of the insights of Piaget, Freud, and contemporary neurophysiology (represented by Lassen, Ingvar, and Skinhoj), in which are described the decisive importance to the brain of the integration of information within the various primary sensory modalities: touch, vision, and hearing. One last point: this chapter contains a novel definition of metaphor, yet one that has never been formally challenged. I am defining metaphor as a verbal description that compares experience cross-modally, for example, that hearing (X) is like seeing (X) in a particular way.

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8. The Transference Phenomenon: Possible Origin and Mechanisms

Levin, Fred M. Karnac Books ePub

If one had to decide what constitutes Freud’s major discoveries, without which there would be no psychoanalysis, one would mention the following: (1) the dynamic unconscious, (2) the related concepts of psychological defense and intrapsychic conflict, (3) the Oedipus complex, (4) the method for interpreting dreams and paraprajces, and (5) the phenomenon of transference. This book has considered novel aspects of each of these basic insights. Chapters 1, 4, 5, 7, and 12 consider the out-of-awareness organizational-motivational systems of the brain, which will eventually be sufficiently known so that a clear correspondence can be created with Freud’s system unconscious. Chapter 2 specifically sets out to define one kind of psychological defense in terms of neurophysiological mechanisms (in this case, communication blocks between the two cerebral hemispheres). The Oedipus complex is considered in chapters 2 and 3 from the novel perspective that this period (from age three and one-half to five) also coincides with the myelinization process that ultimately bridges the two hemispheres into one overarching system. It may not be an accident that this watershed psychological period occurs at the time of major functional evolution in terms of a bihemispheric collaborative system. Dream and sleep research are discussed in detail in chapter 6 in an attempt to correlate these two areas with an information-processing theory of REM/nonREM sleep. And the present chapter, as well as chapter 9, attempts to explicate aspects of transference.

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