Freud and Klein on the concept of phantasy.Int J Psychoanal. 2001 Apr; 82(Pt 2):361-73.IJ
In summary, I think Freud's idea is that the prime mover of psychic life is the unconscious wish, not phantasy. The 'work' of making phantasies and the 'work' of making dreams are parallel processes in which forbidden unconscious wishes achieve disguised expression and partial fulfilment. For Freud himself, especially in his central usage, and even more for his immediate followers, phantasies are conceived as imagined fulfilments of frustrated wishes. Whether they originate in the system conscious or the system preconscious, they are an activity of the ego and are formed according to the principles of the secondary process. That is not the whole story, however, because phantasies may get repressed into the system unconscious, where they become associated with the instinctual wishes, become subject to the laws of the primary process, and may find their way into dreams and many other derivatives. For Freud and for French psychoanalysts particularly, there are the primal phantasies, 'unconscious all along', of the primal scene, castration and seduction, also capable of being directly incorporated into dreams and expressed through other derivatives. For Klein phantasy is an even more central concept than for Freud and it has continued to be used by her successors with only minor changes. In Klein's thinking unconscious phantasies play the part that Freud assigned to the unconscious wish. They underlie dreams rather than being parallel to them--a much more inclusive definition of phantasy than Freud's. The earliest and most deeply unconscious phantasies are bodily, and only gradually, with maturation and developing experience through introjection and projection do some of them come to take a verbal form. Freud's central usage, the wish-fulfilling definition of phantasy, is a particular type of phantasy within Klein's more inclusive definition. And, as in Freud's formulation, conscious phantasies may be repressed, but in Klein's formulation this is not the only or even the main source of unconscious phantasies. In Klein's usage, unconscious phantasies underlie not only dreams but all thought and activity, both creative and destructive, including the expression of internal object relations in the analytic situation. Finally, it is my tentative suggestion that conceptual and clinical focus on the concept of phantasy, especially unconscious phantasy, as in Britain and France, tends to involve a heightened awareness of the unconscious--hardly surprising, since unconscious phantasy is such a fundamental aspect of the unconscious. I have suggested that, although there are many individual variations, the structural model and the self-psychology, relational and intersubjectivist models tend to discourage focus on the dynamic unconscious.