A 'Quantum' of Truth in a Field of Lies: The Investigation of Emotional Truth in a Child Analysis

By Molinari, Elena | International Journal of Psychoanalysis, December 2011 | Go to article overview
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A 'Quantum' of Truth in a Field of Lies: The Investigation of Emotional Truth in a Child Analysis

Molinari, Elena, International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Following Bion's ideas of analytical research the author intends to consider the need to pursue emotional truth between patient and psychotherapist in order to produce a psychological development. It is shown through the analysis of a child how emotional falsification can distort first of all the definition of the child identity. Successively the attention is focused on how lies, as an unconscious element that twist the research of the truth, obstruct the development of thoughts able to transform emotions. Using a quantisation physical model of space, the author hypothesises that the transformation of b elements in a elements is always in an unstable equilibrium. The distortion of emotional truth co-produced by lies affects the oscillation β [Lef-right arrow] α at a primitive level of transformation, changing the ''physical'' state of the analytical field from conductor to insulator.

The most important consequence of the particular point of view suggested by the quantistic model is that in the third analytical space the same definition of a elements or β elements depends on the analyst's point of view. This change of perspective can vitalise the analytical thinking of patient and analyst during an impasse.

Keywords: child analysis, emotional truth, impasse


In a recent, widely publicized article, I read that a group of physicists at the National Institute of Material Physics succeeded in demonstrating, through a complex experiment, a brilliant hypothesis formulated 50 years ago by their colleague, Philip Anderson.2 In 1958, Anderson, without using experimental trials, conjectured that, beyond a certain level of disorder, a solid could undergo an actual transition to a new phase; for example, from being a conductor it could become an insulator. In chilling a particular type of gas almost to absolute zero, physicists at the Centro Nazionale di Ricerca3 observed that atoms 'feel' the presence of light that modifies the energy. With laser beams aimed in various directions, they succeeded in producing 'structures' of light similar to crystals, and they used special cameras to film the movements of the atoms and to see their extended waves along this entire crystal, as the atoms gradually became localized and enclosed themselves within restricted zones that increased the disorder. In order to trap a quantum particle, as Anderson envisioned, it is enough for there to be disorder. It is as though a rough surface would suffice to trap an animal instead of a walled enclosure, adds the author of the article in an attempt to render this idea intuitively conceivable. It is an idea that, in the author's opinion, is somewhat counter-intuitive, as so often happens with quantum mechanics.

When I read this article, I had just finished reading A Beam of Intense Darkness (Grotstein, 2007), and its author's ideas stimulated my imagination. Grotstein's intuitions and those of Anderson came together in my mind, and it seems to me - though on an intuitive basis - that the way of picturing disorder proposed in this physics experiment can help me to better explore what happened with a young patient of mine who had a problem of gender identity.

A spatial idea of truth

Before setting out the clinical material from which the idea was generated that built on the intuitions of Grotstein and Anderson, I will try to clarify which of the American psychoanalyst's ideas seemed useful to me in formulating some hypotheses on a particular function of the analytic couple.

Grotstein thinks that the child may be endowed very early on with an a function that is capable of attributing an initial personal meaning to the emotional fact that impacts him. ''When O intersects our emotional frontier and makes an impression there of its presence, the initial response is the formation or appearance of an a-element (personal)'' (Grotstein, 2007, p. 61). In relation with another mind capable of reverie, a elements can continue their transformative path toward elements of the dream, the contact barrier, and memory.

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A 'Quantum' of Truth in a Field of Lies: The Investigation of Emotional Truth in a Child Analysis


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