Pina Antinucci is Associate Member of the British Psychoanalytic Society and of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (IPA). She trained in London where she lived for over 20 years, and worked in private practice at the Anna Freud Center, and as a consultant at the London Clinic of Psychoanalysis. She is on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and in the Itali…
The author re-reads Dora's case, stressing how much in fact the psychoanalytic theory of hysteria in general has not solved the enigma of the hysterical form of life. He remarks also that by the word "hysteria" we can no longer consider just some specific symptoms--notably conversion or somatization--but rather observe a general vocation for a lack of satisfaction by a subject. The author tries to account for the reasons of this constitutive lack of satisfaction (a potential enjoyment which cannot become actual), highlighting the hysterical capacity for multiple identifications and role-playing. Reconsidering Lacan's approach to hysteria--which is focused on the hysteric's basic homosexual position--the author objects that hysteria goes beyond this position to occupy all the available identificatory and objectal positions.
This is a case of a woman diagnosed with hysteria. Analysis, which took place weekly for around three years, immediately brought out generalized relational conflicts manifested in her work relations and her affective-sentimental relations. Her life difficulties were linked to profound repressed aggressivity projected onto others, to an idealized self-image, and to structural Self-weakness, as she was ever seeking an impossible secure identity. The psychic aspects, including low mentalization and a tendency to externalize, influenced the analytic relation, which was interrupted when transference began to develop, i.e. the possibility of a more profound and transformative therapeutic relation. This interruption is read in terms of the actual possibilities underlying each therapeutic "exchange" characterized by the capabilities and limits of its individual protagonists. In a psychotherapeutic process geared towards fuller recognition of the subject, each psychic configuration claims a comprehensive interpretation, both in intrapsychic and in relational terms.
Garofalo reported the case published here in a clinical discussion group that has been taking place regularly in Rome for the past two years and which includes analysts and psychotherapists from the most diverse schools and tendencies. It’s a kind of psychoanalytical tower of Babel! So, since therapists of very different tendencies from Garofalo’s were present, he wasn’t spared any criticism.
I was struck by the therapist’s statement on Fabiana’s analysis, which, in Garofalo’s words, she experienced as “a coitus interruptus”. In other words F. (Fabiana) “the moment she is penetrated, has to run off”. In actual fact, it seems to me that it is rather a question of “who penetrates who”. The impression I got from the text is that the therapist’s condition throughout treatment was mainly characterized by an experience of impotence.
This reading is meant for the dark I repeat every word to myself, use my finger to keep my place, repeat what I've heard mimic what I've understood, because love means: transforming one's distaste for a loved one transforming a filthy mouth into a budding bush a furrowed womb into an open field sealed pudenda into the lips of a fish until darkness and the black ceiling come crashing down on words
(Albany, NY: SUNY, 2004)
(New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2005)