Being a Character: Psychoanalysis and Self Experience, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Being a Character

Psychoanalysis and Self Experience, 1st Edition

By Christopher Bollas


304 pages

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Each person invests many of the objects in his life with his or her own unconscious meaning, each person subsequently voyages through an environment that constantly evokes the self's psychic history. Taking Freud's model of dreamwork as a model for all unconscious thinking, Christopher Bollas argues that we dreamwork ourselves into becoming who we are, and illustrates how the analyst and the patient use such unconscious processes to develop new psychic structures that the patient can use to alter his or her self experience. Building on this foundation, he goes on to describe some very special forms of self experience, including the tragic madness of women cutting themselves, the experience of a cruising homosexual in bars and bathes and the demented ferocity of the facist state of mind. An original interpreter of classical theory and clinical issues, in Being a Character Christopher Bollas takes the reader into the very texture of the psychoanalytic process.


"Being a Character explores the subject of self-knowledge and the individuals' construction of meaning in their lives. It is always stimulating, particularly through the author's use of his own self-experience. This book is well worth reading by anyone involved in psychotherapy or related work. Indeed, it could fruitfully be read by a much wider audience." - Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part I: Aspects of Self Experiencing. The Evocative Object. Being a Character. Psychic Genera. The Psychoanalyst's Use of Free Association. Part II: Cutting. Cruising in the Homosexual Arena. Violent Innocence. The Fascist State of Mind. Contents. Why Oedipus? Generational Conciousness. References. Index.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Movements / Psychoanalysis
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health