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A Neuro-Psychoanalytical Approach of Anosognosia

This article argues the case for increased recognition of a neuro-psychoanalytic vision within the field of neuroscientific research. It demonstrates how the neuro-psychoanalytic approach to concrete clinical problems can result in new clinical and theoretical insights that can serve to advance the field of neuroscience. The clinical phenomenon of anosognosia, the denial of illness, is used to illustrate the importance of this approach. The article begins with a brief outline of the neurological and clinical symptomatology of anosognosia and a discussion of the main problems encountered in research on, and the clinic of, anosognosia. The two classical explanations of anosognosia are described in order to highlight the shortcomings of the dominant paradigms in neuropsychology. Finally this article discusses anosognosia from a neuro-psychoanalytic point of view with reference to the work of Kaplan-Solms & Solms (2000), Schore (1994; 1997) and Weinstein (1955; 1991), who indicate aspects of the phenomenon which are unjustly neglected in pure neuropsychological research and which ought to form the basis for further investigation. It is argued that a different approach to this phenomenon can lead to the formulation of new questions and hypotheses. The article concludes with some clinical and theoretical implications.