Parapraxis (Greek), a word never used by Freud, means alongside normal practice. Freud used the German, Fehlleistung, or ‘faulty achievement’, to describe a mental error in speech or memory, writing, reading or action. In popular language, these errors are called Freudian slips. It was in his book, ‘Psychopathology of Everyday Life’, where Freud sought to demonstrate how parapraxes function. These errors result from repressed material, slips that occur when we intend one thing in speech or action but say or do another. And, like the symptom, parapraxes are seen as compromise formations or conflicts between conscious intent and repressed thought or feeling. While mental errors may appear unintentional or as simple mistakes, in psychoanalysis they are understood to be motivated and unconsciously determined (i.e. with a cause). The parapraxes, because they occur frequently in everyday life, demonstrate the presence and action of the unconscious.
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