1. In psychoanalysis, the process involved in the disguised representation in consciousness of unconscious or repressed contents or events. 2. A mental state in which a person regards everything that happens as symbolic of the person's own thoughts. 3. The description of the emotional life and experiences in abstract terms.

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sym·bol·ism 'sim-bə-.liz-əm n the art or practice of using symbols esp. by investing things with a symbolic meaning or by expressing the invisible or intangible by means of visible or sensuous representations

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(in psychology) the process of representing an object or an idea by something else. Typically an abstract idea is represented by a simpler and more tangible image. Psychoanalytic theorists hold that conscious ideas frequently act as symbols for unconscious thoughts and that this is particularly evident in dreaming, in free association, and in the formation of psychological symptoms. According to this theory, a symptom (such as difficulty in swallowing) might be a symbolic representation of an unconscious idea (such as a fantasy of oral intercourse).
symbolic adj.

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sym·bol·ism (simґbəl-iz-əm) 1. the act or process of representing something by a symbol. 2. in psychoanalytic theory, a mechanism of unconscious thinking characterized by substitution of a symbol for a repressed or threatening impulse or object, which is often of a sexual nature, so as to avoid censorship by the superego.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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