One of the foundational texts of interpersonal psychoanalysis, Prelogical Experience (1959) is a pioneering attempt to elaborate an interpersonal theory of personality that encompasses the nonpropositional, nonverbal dimension of human experience. Prelogical processes, the authors hold, cannot be consigned to infancy; rather they shape experience throughout life and are especially salient in relation to dreams, emotion, perception, and the arts.
Of special note is Tauber and Green's elaboration of the clinical situation that grows out of an appreciation of prelogical experience. In a striking anticipation of contemporary thinking, they approach patient-therapist interaction in terms of the continuous exchange of "presentational data" by patient and analyst. These data enable patient and therapist alike to "know" more about the other than can ever be expressed in propositional terms.
This perspective assigns an important role to what Piaget would term "the cognitive unconscious" in the clinical process. It likewise sustains a view of the countertransference - which includes the analyst's own dreams - as a vital source of presentational data about the patient. As Donnel Stern notes in his Introduction, these and other insights "amount to a surprisingly contemporary description of psychoanalytic treatment."
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Prelogical Processes in Human Experience. Language, Symbols, and Scientific Method. The Creative Function of the Image. Symbolization and the Maturation Process. The Human Situation as Reflected in Perceptual Experience. Subthreshold Phenomena in the Perceptual Processes. Subthreshold Phenomena in Altered States of Consciousness. Extrasensory Perception. An Inquiry into the Therapist-Patient Relationship. Countertransference and Subthreshold Communication. Some Observations on Dreams and Dream Analysis. The Dream as a Message.
"We might say that Prelogical Experience amounts to an interpersonalized ego psychology, a psychoanalytic way of thinking about mind that takes into account the influence of interpersonal relations on the structure of mind, and on what experience can be from one moment to the next. In this, Tauber and Green were continuing not only the emphasis of Fromm, but also that of Sullivan, whose concepts of selective inattention, dissociation, and the self-system were groundbreaking entries in the same set of observations."
- Donnel Stern, Ph.D., Author, Unformulated Experience (Analytic Press, 1997)