In “Constructions in analysis” (1937), S. Freud compared the analyst’s work to that of the archaeologist searching among vestiges, with the big difference that the object of our work is alive, and working with it causes fear, pain and suffering. Last year, during a visit to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, impressed by the strangeness of the atmosphere, by people carbonised by lava, eternal statues in a shocking atemporality among the archaic objects and traces of the place, I picked up the thread of psychoanalytic reflections on such ruins, vestiges, the layers of “ash” also present in the human psyche and their relevance in the work of the analytic cure. How to communicate the unthinkable, the unsayable, the un-representable, the barely figurable? How to transform traces of your “ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors”, even as passed down from Superego to Superego, or via inter-transgenerational transmissions? How to transform the formless into form?
From S. Freud to D. W. Winnicott, and W. Bion, from A. Green and J. McDougall, via D. Anzieu and R. Roussillon, the author is proposing to revisit the psychic vestiges as they are expressing during the analytic process.
The majority of book-to-film adaptations operate more or less important adjustments on the initial text. In this respect, the present article attempts to investigate the psychoanalytical relevance of such a textual intervention in Roman Polanski’s 1992 film, “Bitter Moon”, based on Pascal Bruckner’s novel, “Lunes de fiel” (1981). The analysis takes the Freudian theories on sadomasochism and death instinct as a starting point.
When describing the two instincts in his work “The Ego and the Id”, Freud says that the “Eros, by bringing about a more and more far-reaching combination of the particles into which living substance is dispersed, aims at complicating life and at the same time, of course, at preserving it”. This complication, which I consider to be rather an increased complexity, can be found in the patients’ discourse through the diversification of means of expression and attributed significations, when their “stories” open up to us and to new meanings… However, when stories are meant to free the body of the burden of a stigmata, which must be covered with histories and significants, how can we identify the flux of the Eros in the counter-sense of a Thanatos that, as Freud said, “tends to return the organic to the lifeless state”? I therefore propose that we try and explore this effort to tell the story of the body expression forms trough words, in Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel, The Storyteller…
Fusion is one of the fundamental mechanisms of mental functioning, an essential element in all object relations – with variations only in the degree of participation – along with the component connoted by separateness. There is a continuous dialectic relationship between levels of fusion and separateness in every human relationship.
Among the goals of the basic human search for an object we should also include the attempt to establish common mental areas with sufficiently similar objects through fusion. Mental contents can flow freely between the subject and the objects through these shared areas. Human beings seem characterized by an extremely sophisticated and continuously changing boundary system.
The simultaneous dialectic presence of three levels of mutual relation is stressed in object relations: the level of fusion, the level of incomplete separation and the level of complete separation. The three levels are compared to the three positions (one more primitive: Fusion as well as the Kleinian PS and D).
Midlife is an age of crisis according to many authors, as it sets the subject up against the inevitability of the ageing process, loss, and the limitedness of life. Most authors view midlife as an age of crisis where everything can be staked back into the game. But some other authors have highlighted how midlife is characterised by a new burst of creativity, by new object investments and by a redressing of the balance between narcissism (which decreases) and object investments for which a larger share of the libido becomes available. The Author thinks that it seems worthwhile to make a distinction between midlife, as indicative of a phase of life, and maturity, construed as a psychic position which is relatively independent of age.
Therefore, she explores the creativity area of the trans-generational transmission, quoting some psychoanalysts and poets, and introducing a clinical example of the mourning process for losses inherent in the passing of time and the development of tolerance capacities to deal with a change in the balance between the libido and narcissism.
Then the Author affords a specific difficulty in transmitting a trans-generational mandate, when the treatment concerns cases of severe trauma, like victims of collective trauma and mass murders. What can be transmitted in these cases if the psychological concatenation between the generations is interrupted and breaks down? How can it be linked up again? The story and re-elaboration by Henri Parens is brought as an example to be studied and commented.
The theory of matriarchy still enjoys wide popularity, even among psychoanalysts. Following Freud’ ideas, they invoke the passage from matriarchy to patriarchy as a historical analogue to the individual psychosexual development.
After a review of anthropological discussions, some hypotheses vis-a-vis this persistence are proposed: matriarchy is a secular cosmogonic myth, developed within the evolutionary paradigm; a fantasy of origin of mankind within the mother’s primacy constellation, both defensive formations against underlying anxieties constitutive of societal institution.
Having recourse to Peirce’s and Green’s concept of thirdness, a critical approach of linearity is undertaken. Finally, a structural correlation between gynaecocracy and matriarchal theory is proposed.
The work of mourning and organization of the mental space may be seriously disturbed by the real loss of the object and the way how communication with the “still alive” objects is built. Certain obstacles in communication with significant people make the mental separation difficult. The problem of separation, individuation and building of somebody’s own mental space is linked to the way in which the child mourns in relation to the central objects of early childhood. Especially the real loss of a parental object during the early childhood implies a traumatic moment which will excessively dramatize the oedipal issues. In this context, the analysis of the infantile material and development of an analytical work, which would perlaborate the trauma of the loss under a full oedipal conflict of one of the parents, as well as the subjectivation difficulties deriving from this trauma are the indispensable elements of a psychoanalytic work.
The present paper is an attempt to create bridges of understanding between the subjective investigation in the psychoanalytic situation and the empirical research concerning a subject not enough explored in its earliest dimensions – the place and role of the father in the first year of the child’s life. As part of a more extensive empirical research on the dynamics of child development in the first year of life, the research presented in this article was built and articulated within the psychodynamic theories of development, it was conducted in the form of a standardized research and generated a series of results that are re-integrated into the psychoanalytic understanding, validating and being validated by psychoanalytic knowledge. The central point of this encounter between the psychodynamic understanding and the results of empirical research is that the father is an active presence in the development of the child from the first year of life, in a formula of internal and external triadic relationship and that one of the most important function of the father in this early stage of life is to facilitate a way for the child to build his own loving and creative relationship with the world.