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Author: Thomas H. Ogden

Abstract: The author believes that contemporary psychoanalysis has shifted its emphasis from the understanding of the symbolic meaning of dreams, play, and associations to the exploration of the processes of thinking, dreaming, and playing. In this paper, he discusses his understanding of three forms of thinking–magical thinking, dream thinking, and transformative thinking–and provides clinical illustrations in which each 0f these forms of thinking figures prominently. The author views magical thinking as a form of thinking that subverts genuine thinking and psychological growth by substituting invented psychic reality for disturbing external reality. By contrast, dream thinking–our most profound form of thinking–involves viewing an emotional experience from multiple perspectives simultaneously: for example, the perspectives of primary process and secondary process thinking. In transformative thinking, one creates a new way of ordering experience that allows one to generate types of feeling, forms of object relatedness, and qualities of aliveness that had previously been unimaginable.

This excerpt is copyrighted by The Psychoanalytic Quarterly and was originally published as part of an article entitled “On Three Forms of Thinking: Magical Thinking, Dream Thinking, and Transformational Thinking,” by Thomas H. Ogden, in The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 2010, Volume LXXIX, No. 2, pp. 317-347. Used by permission.


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