April 5, 2017 - - 0 Comments



Let us first start by understanding and knowing where the term “phantasy” has derived from. An Austrian neurologist by the name of Sigmund Freud founder of psychoanalysis used the clinical term “fantasy” to describe the unconscious state of mind. The unconscious state of mind is the mental state of mind which cannot or has not been made conscious.  An English translator of Freud brought out a new spelling of the word “phantasy” by adding a “ph” to the term. In psychoanalysis the term is widely used and highly common while working with individuals in addiction. Susan Isaacs (1948) wrote, “Some analysts tend to contrast phantasy with reality in such a way as to undervalue the dynamic importance of phantasy. A related usage, very common in patients, is to think of phantasy as something merely or only imagined, as something unreal, in contrast with what is actual, what happens to one”.

Freud was able to display that the inner working of an individual’s mind has a reality, characteristics, and dynamic law of its own while different than those in the external world. Also, phantasy is highly lively in the normal as well as in the neurotic mind. Many times it has been rumored that the unconscious is only in the mind and with “normal” individuals its existence is little to non-existent. However, Susan Isaacs (1948) argues this view is not in accordance with facts, as they are seen in the behavior of ordinary people in daily life, or as observed through the medium of psycho analytic work, notably in the transference. SusanIsaacs (1948) further more states the difference between normal and abnormal lies in the way in which the unconscious phantasies are deal with, the particular mental processes by means of which they are worked over and modified; and the degree of direct or indirect gratification in the real world and adaptation to it, which these favored mechanisms allow.

Through the many years of Freud’s work including many others who have worked closely with him, phantasy is not the single most important element for understanding the human mind. Susan Isaacs (1948) asserts when and under what conditions “psychical reality” is in harmony with external reality is one special part of the total problem of understanding mental life as a whole: a very important part indeed; but, still, “only” one part.


Anthony Paez  MSW

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