Conscious and Unconscious Fantasy

Conscious and Unconscious Fantasy

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  • 6-Session Course (Fridays)
    December 1, 2017 - January 12, 2018
    3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Instructor: Robert Caper, M.D.

Dates: Six Fridays: December 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd, 2017; January 5th, 2018 and January 12th, 2018

Time: 3:00-5:00 p.m. EST

Location: 156 West 86th Street, Suite 1C and Long-Distance via Videoconference

Contact Hours: 12 CEUs for Social Workers licensed in NY


This 6-session class (12 CEUs) will contrast conscious fantasy and the : concept of unconscious fantasy.  For Klein, unconscious fantasy is the stuff out of which the internal world is made.  Unlike conscious fantasy, an unconscious fantasy has the effect of a fact in world of internal objects — it is the equivalent, in the immaterial world of psychic reality, of a physical fact in the external world of material reality.  We will begin with Freud’s discovery that in the unconscious, a fantasy has an impact on the mind and on development indistinguishable from that of a material historical trauma.  We will then examine the evidence from Melanie Klein’s analyses of young children for a rich and complex world of unconscious fantasy (the world of internal objects).  We will discuss Susan Isaacs’s work on the relationship between unconscious fantasy and instinct, and finally Wilfred Bion’s ideas of dream-work-alpha (alpha-function) as the crucial factor in the divergence of the psychotic and non-psychotic developmental pathways.

At the end of this course, students will to be able to answer the following questions:

1.  What is the difference between conscious and unconscious fantasy?

2.  What is the impact on the mind and personality of unconscious fantasy?

3.  How has the theory of unconscious fantasy evolved in the development of psychoanalysis?


Students must attend the entirety of all 6 sessions in order to receive CEUs as per NYSED requirements.