Malfunctions in the Symbolic Space: A Psychoanalytic-Semiotic View

S Strasburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter targets the development of symbolization and will propose a psychoanalytic-semiotic integrative model for understanding situations of symbolization malfunction in which the attempt to represent reality is disrupted. Psychoanalysis proposes two different ways of relating to symbol comprehension from which symbolic malfunction is derived. While classical psychoanalysis viewed the symbol as creating a distance from anxiety-provoking contents, more recent literature contends that the symbol constitutes a bridge between the interpreting subject and the object. However, both approaches offer only a partial view of symbolic malfunction, and it appears that a comprehensive model for this topic is lacking. Drawing on Pierce's semiotics, which posits multiple options for interpretation of the sign, this chapter offers a broader view aimed at addressing this lack. It presents a model integrating psychoanalysis and semiotics, which posits a sequence of possible malfunctions in symbolization and describes several archetypes of characteristic malfunctions. This model provides therapists with a range of possibilities for understanding a patient struggling with symbolization, and calls attention to how suitable therapeutic interventions are derived from these different malfunctions. Possibilities for assisting patients going through the symbolization development process will be examined
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychoanalytic Investigations in Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Exploration of Current Existential Challenges
EditorsDorit Lemberger
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781003326588
ISBN (Print)9781032353739, 9781032353746
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePhilosophy and Psychoanalysis

Bibliographical note

Query date: 2024-03-04 13:35:35


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