Bice Benvenuto is a Lacanian psychoanalyst who has practiced in London for 15 years and has co-directed the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London for many years. She is a member of the Ecole Européenne de Psychanalyse and has taught psychoanalysis at the New School for Social Research in New York and at The Florida Atlantic University. She published, with Roger Kennedy, Th…
The author considers a series of artistic works-Pizarnik's and Bassnet's Arbol de Diana, Prokofjev's music, Wordsworth's Prelude, Saer's Nobody Nothing Never, Hölderlin's Hyperion-applying to modern art the Lacanian concepts of the Thing and the Real. Modern art aims at the Real: referring to Plato's myth of the cavern, the author states that some art can drive us from illusion toward the real. But this Thing is not something outside in the reality, nor is it the Kantian Thing-in-itself: it is "a thing from the inner space" according to Freud's conception. In this context, he discusses some classic commentaries on Hölderlin's Hyperion-namely by Lukacs and Santner-in order to interpret Hölderlin's work as both a philosophical and sociological farewell to the metaphysics of subjectivity and an attempt to mediate among the meaningless multiplicity of life.
The author stresses the extent to which analytic literature represses the issue of money and how its significance to the analytical relationship ought instead to be analyzed. Starting from a widespread fantasy among analysands, where the analyst is felt to be a prostitute, the author expands upon the limits of the analytical setting, which has been suffering from a sort of phobia of the gift since the days of Freud. To the concept of psychoanalysis "of the answering" by the analytical establishment, the author opposes a more living concept of "psychoanalysis of the questioning".
This interview traces a brief history of the relationship between French psychoanalysis, public institutions and other institutionalized professions. The author condemns France's recent legislative attempts to control psychotherapy, and in the long run psychoanalysis, as part of a strategy, common to several Western countries, which aims at turning psychoanalysis into a psychotherapy and at gaining a general control over subjects' souls and bodies, through a generalized assessment. If such a project were to be fulfilled, the end of psychoanalysis itself as a specific approach towards the psyche would be at hand.
The author describes the Italian law which, since 1989, has regulated the practice of psychotherapy in Italy--and its complex implications for psychoanalysis. Even if the Ossicini Law does not specifically mention psychoanalysis, in fact all Italian analytic schools subjected themselves to its legal requirements, which meant accepting only graduates in medicine or psychology for training.
Held in Milan, at the SGAI (the Italian Group-Analysis Society), March 14, 2004
The psychotherapeutic process of a 28-year-old woman, Anna, is reported. The patient was referred to psychological consultation by her gynecologist with a diagnosis of primary vaginismus. Because of clinical and hospital policy-based considerations, the patient was given a short-term planned psychotherapy limited to 16 sessions, which were however extended by a further 8 sessions. The psychotherapeutic process went through 3 consecutive phases of rapid symptomatic improvement, therapeutic stalemate, and final resolution of symptoms. Some classic techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy were utilized, primarily progressive relaxation and in vivo exposition. However, the whole psychotherapeutic process was interpreted and is discussed in the paper through a psychodynamic perspective. In particular, some relevant key points are discussed within the theoretical framework of Weiss and Sampson's Control Master Theory. One major issue was raised at the end of the treatment, i.e. what kind of treatment has been carried out with Anna, whether a cognitive-behavioral therapy (if treatment is identified with the technique) or a psychoanalytic psychotherapy (if treatment is identified with the analysis of the meanings shared by the therapist and the patient within the therapeutic relationship).
(Paris, France: Denoël, 2002)