On remembering. The notion of memory without recollection

Sur la remémoration. La notion de la mémoire sans souvenirs

César Botella

First, a question: Do we still think today that psychoanalysis cures by virtue of a return of the past or do we think the importance of remembering in psychoanalysis is in decline?

Psychoanalysis was conceived by Freud and developed to a large extent within the framework of a conception in which the resolution of neurosis is to be found in the patient’s past. Freud even uses the well-known metaphor according to which psychoanalysis follows an archaeological model where it is a question of recapturing recollections of the past as they occurred.

But, nothing is simple with Freud. In the article on “Screen memories” (1899a), and The Interpretation of Dreams (1900a) one year later, Freud was less interested in the study of memory than in the process of remembering. At that time, Freud thought that all memories were the result of a process in which the past is a creation that approximates more or less to real facts. This conception was no doubt closely related to the self-analysis he made in the 1890’s, notably with reference to his own dreams.