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June 1964

Anxiety: Reification Of a Metaphor

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(6):630-638. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720240084009

I  The title of this panel, Anxiety Revisited, suggests the figure of paying a call to a place which at an earlier time in one's life was especially significant and characterized by poignant memories. In real life, such visitations invariably result in disillusionment and frequently in one's questioning the basis of his beliefs about the place. Not uncommonly, looking over the old haunts leads one to the painful conclusion that he has been preserving the remains of an imaginary companion created to solve some of the problems of childhood. Whether this figure of speech has any merit remains to be seen.Somewhat in the manner of an archeologist, I have visited "anxiety," dug around the footings, and set down my observations. Two main theses stem from these observations: The first thesis questions the utility, for our times and purposes, of the general conception of internal, psychic,