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October 1954

ALTERATIONS IN THE "FIELD" IN A BRIEF DEPRESSIVE EPISODE

Author Affiliations

CHAPEL HILL, N. C.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(4):455-472. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330040057005
Abstract

PSYCHOANALYSIS has been from its beginning a study of relationships among persons (and classes of persons). These relationships are "fields," analogous to fields as conceived in modern physics. Operationally, psychoanalytic practice has been oriented toward the field—in the study of transference and countertransference attitudes. Theoretically, however, the logical model classically used has been that which deals with self-acting entities and forces, based upon Newtonian mechanics.1 In this paper we have attempted to describe a brief depressive episode in terms of the changing fields of which the patient felt herself to be a part at various periods in her illness and recovery. We believe that such an alteration in language of description and in the logical model upon which the language is based makes for a greatly more flexible theoretical construction, while at the same time it loses nothing essential.

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