Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Clinical Psychology


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Bruce Fink

Committee Member

Russell A. Walsh

Committee Member

Jessie Goicoechea


construction, dialogue, epistemology, fantasy, interpretation, psychoanalysis


This theoretical dissertation examines psychoanalytic interpretation through a critical textual analysis of primary texts by Sigmund Freud, Melanie Klein, and Jacques Lacan. Chapter One presents Freud's The interpretation of dreams (1900) as initiating a new psychoanalytic hermeneutic/interpretive epistemology, methodology, and method; explores Freud's subsequent epistemological revisions and evolving methodology; investigates the role of personal history/the past and the reconstruction (or construction) of missing memories as part of analytic interpretation; looks at the relationship between fantasy (psychic reality) and interpretation; and briefly examines the relationship between transference and interpretation. Chapters Two and Three explore interpretation as presented by Klein and Lacan, looking at key organizing metaphors/tropes through which each Freudian revisionist offers a new interpretation of the unconscious. For Klein childhood/infancy (the preverbal) is the trope, for Lacan, it is language/signification. Each chapter explores the following: interpretation as a methodology, construction, fantasy, and transference. Klein's interpretive method analyzes children's play, whereas Lacan's deciphers the signifying chain. Klein engages in reconstruction on the level of theory but focuses on the present in the analytic session, whereas Lacan formulates reconstruction in terms of rewriting history via the symbolic order. Klein focuses on the phantasies that form and govern unconscious object relations, whereas for Lacan fantasy involves the Other, which the subject encounters in the symbolic order. Klein emphasizes transference interpretations, whereas Lacan generally discounts them. Chapter Four concludes with a comparison of Freud, Klein, and Lacan, looking at points of agreement and divergence, and seeking ways to encourage dialogue.