Sergio Benvenuto is a researcher in psychology and philosophy at the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy, and a contributor to cultural journals such as Differentia (New York), aut aut (Milan), Lettre Internationale (French, German, Spanish, Hungarian and Italian editions), Transeuropéennes (Paris), Anamorphosis (San Francisco). He translated into Italian Jacques Lacan’s Sémi…
(New York, NY: Routledge, 2001)
(London, UK and New York, NY: Verso, 2000)
(New York, NY: North Point Press, 1998) (London, UK: Open Gate Press, 2001)
Nancy writes about the inherent irony contained within psychoanalysis, not because it's a 'cure' but because it is nothing less than the discovery of truth, and how can there be any more truth about truth? He claims that Freud had some apperception of the 'end' his truth created, and that Lacan tried to keep his own perception secret, revealed only through his own substitute irony. Thus the end of psychoanalysis is nothing historical, and has nothing of knowledge, but is inherent in the discovery. However, Nancy also reveals the 'endless metaphor' that is possible once one knows one's limit.
Nanni Moretti’s movie “The Son’s Room” (winner of the first prize at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival) marks a turning point in the way cinema represents the psychoanalyst: his personal crisis acts as a metaphor of the general crisis of the modern man or woman. Through the crisis of a psychoanalyst-who ends his professional practice after having lost a son in an accident-Moretti in fact describes the sense of void felt by anyone whose life and thinking have been inspired by modern philosophies (marked by Marx, Nietzsche and Freud). The author shows how the “end of analysis” (in all the senses of the expression), which he analyzes in its main articulations, is the central theme of this movie. The protagonists’ mourning is a way of making them confront a “central void” in their existence that traditional analytical theory and practice are unable to deal with, since these always refer this void back exclusively to the subjects personal history rather than situate its emergence as a concrete life event, as a loss in the real. The movie hints how traditional psychoanalysis represses the meaningless side of human suffering.
The author-using the objective method of the social sciences-covers research dating back to 1930 on the therapeutic effectiveness of psychoanalysis, to which he adds the results of his own research conducted in Germany in the 1980's and '90's. He examines the level of psychological health vs psychiatric severity, the therapeutic alliance, core relationship patterns, and the process from working through to mastery. He claims that these core concepts are true building blocks for clinical work in the varieties of psychoanalytic work.
The author examines the relation between analytical practice and time. He refers to three types of activity found in Freud's work. First, his early 'nearly feudal' treatment of hysterics when its duration was contained within the limited period of the illness time. Then an 'almost utopian' practice based on a 'friendly relationship', when his conversation with Gustav Mahler during a walk they made together had therapeutic effects. The third 'almost barbaric' practice, drawn from Freud's papers on technique, prescribes the use of a Grand Clock to regulate the analytical relationship using the model of the industrial machines. The analytical work thus becomes chronometrical and fixed, by acquiring complexity, the scientific apparatus seemed to necessitate a progressively longer period of time, while its aim became gradually less distinct, indefinite, even endless. Time, limited and defeated in the present of the session, seems to shift to an unreal victory in the future. Such a monotonous and institutional relationship in analysis ends up existing in and of itself and by its own rules, without concern for its own end.
Anna Freud's metapsychological profile is presented, and its possible application to daily clinical work with children, as well as its use in an evolutive approach to adult psychopathology, is discussed. The author points out that diagnosis is a dynamic process, and thus can be applied to most of the technical questions useful in psychoanalytic treatment. Theoretical and general issues are further discussed such as: the conditioning by the deterministic vision of reality upon the clinical practice, the heuristic value of infant observation, and the qualitative level of knowledge to which our diagnostic instruments lead us. The cultural and historical milieu from which the profile grew is illustrated, and the implications of its use in daily clinical practice are discussed.
An interview with Diego Napolitani by Maria Luisa Tapparo
Dear Dr. Carere, I am very grateful for your attention to-and clear discussion of-my ideas, and for sending me your fascinating article. I would agree that the principles of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy are the same. I find your ideas about the need for flexibility in foregrounding strategy or tactics very plausible. I do have some old-fashioned reservations about the…
Friedman pointed out that "Freud did not design a treatment: he discovered one". It means that psychoanalytic therapy is a robust phenomenon, endowed with an inner logic or an essential structure of its own. Two elements of this structure are highlighted by Friedman: the "hunt for objective truth" and the "adversarial attitude". The Author builds on this basic core to extend it in two directions. First, he contends that the essential structure pointed to by Friedman is not a property of psychoanalytic therapy alone but is shared by any genuine psychotherapy, i.e. any treatment that does not dissociate the tactical objective of symptom relief from the strategic objective of personal formation. Second, he locates Friedman's two factors on the two orthogonal axes-the uncovering and the remaking line-that define the field of psychotherapy. On these axes, connecting each two cardinal therapeutic positions, Friedman's two factors are doubled to four, i.e. two couples of opposite therapeutic factors. This doubling, which transforms Friedman's linear logic into a dialectical one, is deemed necessary to overcome the unilaterality of the former. In a dialectical approach truth is not just hunted or conquered, it is also received or generated; and the resistances are met with an adversarial, as much as with a reassuring and validating attitude. A balance is to be struck moment by moment between hunting and receiving, as between wrestling and reassuring, as a function of the demands of the process.
In this paper, the author presents Conversationalism as a formal, quantitative, grammatical theory of conversation. Through many examples of recorded conversations, the author shows that the semantic-pragmatic theories of conversation are unsuitable for explaining conversations with Alzheimer’s patients. These particular conversations are typically characterized by the fact that the patient can answer politely, without knowing what he is saying, to words the meaning of which he has not grasped. The formal quantitative grammatical theory of conversation, instead, which puts itself outside the horizon of meaning and focuses on the text’s indicators, explains perfectly well not only the actual formal profile of a single conversation, but also the differences between successive conversations of the same patient. These formal, quantitative, grammatical differences allow us to calculate the types of changes (linked, for instance, to the evolution of the disease or to the therapeutic interventions) in the conversations over time.
The special value given to the image in Russian Orthodox icons depicting Mary and the Christ child reveals a specifically Russian problematic in relation to real mothers. Thus, it may lead to specific theories of addiction in Russia concerning a possibly Russian ideal of avoiding pain through the intervention of one's mother in relation to one's father.
This paper is a subjective survey of the history of psychoanalysis in Russia, and the current activities of various schools of psychoanalysis in Russia. The author speaks of the special problems of the revival of psychoanalysis in Russia, with a special plea to the world-wide psychoanalytic community to continue to provide theoretical and methodological support.
This paper reviews the place Lacan occupies in the US both in the clinical and academic worlds. While in academia Lacan has been criticized for his phallocratic bent, among American psychoanalysts Lacan's ideas are viewed as too intellectual and divorced from clinical concerns. Taking account of these objections, the paper attempts to rework Lacanian theory by emphasizing that the symbolic order does not need to be equated with phallocracy.
A conversation of Raffaele Siniscalco with Otto Kernberg
Following his phenomenological thinking, the author shows how Freudian theory of the unconscious is actually the point of arrival of a long process of European thinking that began with “Cartesian doubt” and with Descartes’ idea that one’s sense of the “I” is the only certainty. This process, which combines reflections on the subject and a philosophy of life, basically continues in Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and in phenomenology. Starting from an analysis of Freud’s Project for a Scientific Psychology-to be considered a theory of subjectivity-the Author examines the role Freud gave to life drives: the foundations of the subject lie not in representations but in affects. He also underlines the “Schopenhauerian” limits of Freudian theory: Freud appears to have put too much emphasis on psychic representations instead of putting it on affect as the ultimate truth of the subject. The Author then concludes by examining the common ground between Freud and Marx, insofar as both insist on individuality and on the subjectivity of human life.
In this lecture, the author criticizes what he calls the classical model of rationality, which derives from Hume’s thesis and continues up to recent scholars such as Davidson and Williams. This model is based on six points: (1) rational actions are caused by beliefs and desires; (2) rationality is a matter of following special rules; (3) there is a separate faculty or module for rationality; (4) weakness of will is impossible; (5) there must be a set of primary desires from which all reasoning derives; (6) if we are able to operate with rationality, then the set of primary desires must be consistent. Against this model the author opposes his idea of rationality and action, which is founded on certain basic points: (1) a consistent set of desires is impossible, because one desire cannot be satisfied without frustrating a whole lot of others; (2) there is a gap between rationality and action; (3) human beings, unlike animals, are capable of commitment. In particular, the author develops a thesis according to which free will, consciousness and rationality are mutually implicated.