How to Bring the Unrepressed Unconscious to the Surface in Analysis

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Probably the most interesting question from the clinical viewpoint is: how in the analytical relationship can we gain access to the early unrepressed unconscious, which cannot be recalled? The discovery of the implicit memory and the unrepressed unconscious leads us to pay close attention to certain aspects of the transference and the elements of dreams that lend themselves to psychic "configuration" [75], to narrow the gap created by lack of figurative forms in the unrepressed early unconscious.

The extra- and infraverbal component of the transference must be exploited: the patient's general behavior in the setting, his facial expressions and posture, even his movements, reflect the influence of the procedural dimension of the implicit memory on the early unrepressed unconscious [76]. The infraverbal components regard the "signifying" functions [77] of the intonation of the voice and the prosody of language, as these hark back to the child's early relations with its mother, which the patient can relive with the analyst in the transference.

In analysis, where speech is essential, it is through the voice that words create sounds and carry affects. In this sense the voice is an "experience" of oneself while one is speaking [78], but at the same time an "expression" of the self in relation to the other person. It sets up a "transference current" recalling a sensory dimension linked to the mother's voice [79]. Combined with these elements of communication are the rhythm, tone, timbre of the voice, the musical turn of the phrase, and the syntax and pace of the language. In analysis all this adds up to the "musical dimension" of the transference [80-83]. Knoblauch [84] also described this as the "musical edge of therapeutic dialogue," meaning a "shared musical performance" by the analytical pair; the author even suggested there were some similarities with jazz!

The musical dimension of analysis refers to music as a language sui generis whose symbolic structure parallels that of our emotional and affective world [85-87]. More than the content of the narration [88], it is this modality that expresses the metaphor in the transference of affective, emotional, and cognitive experiences-some possibly traumatic-that have defined the implicit model of the patient's mind. This model has its roots in the mother's language, especially the emotional tone of her voice, which the child learns long before he understands its actual meaning. The mother's voice and language have therefore privileged access to the child's feelings [89], creating a metaphorical area of exchange for extremely early processes of projection and introjection.

Similarly, the two people involved in analysis use their voices to communicate their affects, and to facilitate-or impede-their affective investment in each other [90-92]. The semantic component of the patient's (or therapist's) speech is markedly influenced by the emotional significance originating in his early unconscious history, and is based on the tones and prosody heard before he could grasp the actual meaning. This rhythm and musical dimension can only belong to the unrepressed unconscious, in view of its origin in the person's earliest emotional experiences. It can easily be split and identified projectively by the analyst, and stings his coun-tertransference skin more than any semantic content of the narration.

An analyst listening sensitively will grasp, in the here and now of the session, the unrepressed unconscious meaning of this particular mode of transference-especially the age-old quality of the split-off, projected affects-and put them into words, giving them a symbolic sense and reconstructively tying them to the past.

There is a continuous exchange of emotions and feelings between the patient and analyst. Normally it is the patient who projects his affective states onto the analyst, who cannot help being involved, but then has to be able to work through them. At this stage it is worth mentioning some important recent neuropsychological observations of activation of the brain areas for pain (anterior part of the cingulate cortex and insula) in an observer affectively linked to the person showing extraverbal signs of pain [93] or speaking about it [94]. Smells that disgust someone can activate the same structures in the observer (the anterior part of the insula and to a lesser extent the cingulate cortex) [95]. Experience with "mirror neurons" [96, 97] also provides neurophysiological proof of an exchange of feelings and sensations between individuals who are somehow related, as the physiological basis of a process we can call projective identification. These are some of the points where neurosciences and psychoanalysis meet, referring to potential functional neurological changes in people who are somehow connected, as a basis for the transference and counter-transference.

The dream, that living metaphor of our private theatre, offers a privileged representation of the fantasies, affects, and defenses manifested in the transference, and an opportunity for reconstruction linked to the pre-

verbal and presymbolic events of the implicit model of the patient's mind. The dream offers internal figures-or objects-that are related among themselves (its intrapsychic dimension) and to outside objects (its intersubjective dimension). The dream can create images or make a mental figurability, closing the gap created by the absence of representation, and symbolically configuring experiences that were originally presymbolic. Their interpretation will facilitate the process of reconstruction necessary for the mind to become able to "mentalize" and render thinkable-though obviously still not recollectable-experiences that originally could not be represented or even thought. The dream therefore works in the memory, drawing on repressed experiences stored in the explicit memory, activating their recollection, but also recuperating possibly traumatic events from the implicit memory, where they cannot be remembered. In this case the dream helps reconstruct a person's earliest history, giving an historical dimension to his unconscious.

This means that a critical component of the therapeutic action of psychoanalysis today involves transforming symbolically and rendering ver-balizable the implicit, early unconscious structures in the patient's mind. The experience there is loaded with emotion and rooted in the affective tone of the primary relations, condensed in the language and tone and accents of the voice more than the autobiographic recollections of events that happened after the preverbal stage. Making the implicit structures of the patient's mind thinkable, and bringing to the surface the unconscious ways in which they work, means enabling him to configure what was not representable in his unrepressed unconscious and to recover those parts of the self that were denied or split off and projected when his mind was still in its early stages of development.

Experiences filed in the explicit and implicit memory may come to light in the transference, influencing each other, like in the normal process of development of a child's mind [50]. Just as work on the implicit memory can make it easier for fantasies and recollections to surface from the explicit memory, reconstruction through the autobiographic memory can help the patient's earliest experiences, with their related fantasies and defenses, to emerge from the implicit memory in the transference and in dreams. Through the transference and his dreams the patient, with the analyst's help, will be able to reconstruct his own life-story and, by rewriting his affective history, will give his unconscious an historical meaning starting from the earliest emotions of his life.

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