Forms of freedom: Towards a psychoanalytic conception of autonomy

  • This paper argues that autonomy is a crucial concept for psychoanalysis that deserves greater attention and closer elaboration. Although there is abundant literature on the complexities of Freud’s psychic determinism and its compatibility (or not) with different notions of freedom, less attention has been paid to psychoanalytic definitions of autonomy, especially in relation to the end(s) of analysis. In what follows I propose a framework for a psychoanalytic conception of autonomy based on an intrapsychic and an intersubjective axis. I argue for the consideration of three kinds of freedom: a freedom >from,< a freedom >to,< and a freedom >through.< Freedom >from< refers to the quest for liberation from intrapsychic constraints that delimit our freedom >to< be agents of change and novelty, subjects capable of degrees of self-creation and self-determination; both kinds of freedom require the common psychic work between patient and therapist, the working-through of the particular elements of the transferential and countertransferential dynamics of the dyad generating a form of freedom >through< one another, unique to psychoanalytic activity.

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Author:Eleni Filippachi
Parent Title (English):International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 30 (No. 2, 2021), pp. 087-099.
Document Type:Articles
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2022/05/04
Format:PDF-scan upon request / PDF-Scan auf Anfrage
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Articles / Artikel
Licence (German):
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