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October 1969

Image, Symbol, and Person: The Strategy of Psychological Defense

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Psychiatry, Boston University school of Medicine.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;21(4):392-406. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740220008002

Image as Phenomenologic Substrate  THE flux of private mental events, part of our universal psychological experience, has intrigued and baffled philosophers, psychologists, and artists. It has become almost commonplace to observe that along with speech and thought goes a simultaneous flow of dreams—or daydreams.1-4 Manifest systems of communication, using relatively well-defined units and rules, have a shadow counterpart—persistent, ambiguous, silent. The cardinal vehicle of this inner language can be called images, a term with many connotations. I use as core definition: "a representation... or imitation of sensible experience, with or without accompanying feelings, the reproduction in memory or imagination of sensations of sight, touch, or hearing, etc."5 The dictionary supplies multiple interrelated additional meanings—testimony to the many phenomena related to imagery.Images may translate themselves directly into outer expressive patterns, such as emotional display, pantomine, or the endless variety of art forms. This paper, however, will deal

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