Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Consapevolezza Ed Autoanalisi [Awareness and Self-Analysis]

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychoanalysis

Consapevolezza Ed Autoanalisi [Awareness and Self-Analysis]

Article excerpt

Consapevolezza ed autoanalisi [Awareness and self-analysis] edited by Pia De Silvestris and Adamo Vergine Milan: Angeli. 2005. 158 p. Reviewed by Andrea B. Baldassarro,1 Via Flaminia 48 - 00196 Roma, Italy - balthassar@katamail.com

In the unrelenting work to understand and transform the patient's psychic set-up, the analyst always moves on different planes, concerning his relationship with the patient and, in particular, his mental organization. If the activity of the mind can only be understood at a conscious and mindful level, it is the deep levels that are at stake in the constant effort to reveal the unconscious movements underlying the analysis.

This book is a comparative study of the different traditions of psychoanalysis in Italy, which has always been very interested in not only the deep dynamics of the relationship with the patient, but also the analyst's inner movements.

This is true for countertransference considered as a psychic movement following a specific treatment; it is especially true for the analyst's self-analysis. This is an ongoing inner process for the analyst, which is triggered and sustained by his analytical work and by the unexplored parts of his personal analysis. The fundamental issue presented in this study-that can be considered as an opportunity to stop and rethink within a broader framework of thoughts and considerations-is, the editors state, the possibility to 'translate the subjective clinical experience into a shared experience' (p. 7). It is an old issue, which is, however, always present in the psychoanalytical debate. Moreover, it is an issue that cannot be easily settled, even with a more sophisticated theoretical approach: there is still a wide gap-which may never be completely bridged-between clinical experience and theoretical generalization and formalization, notwithstanding the progress in the field of psychoanalytical research. In fact, it concerns the way in which the analyst thinks of and works through his own personal experience and therefore it refers to the origin of thought formation. According to the editors, by its very nature, psychoanalysis cannot be considered as a formalized science. However, the strength and originality of the analytical method result from the fact that it lies in a transitional area and it uses a peculiar way of thinking and of considering its own experience.

The book features the contributions of several authors from different backgrounds. This diversity is designed to present different but complementary styles of thought and to allow each author to speak his or her specific language. However, their common denominator is an investigation of self-analysis in particular. According to Vergine and De Silvestris in their essay 'Self-analysis between subjective truth and clinical reality', self-analysis does not have to be conceived as work in solitude, a means which isolates the analyst in his search for the deep subjective movements that his personal analysis has not been able to reveal. It cannot even be perceived as an introspective investigation, but as 'the starting point of any knowledge and analytical transformation' (p. 143). It is a

...mechanism designed to acquire knowledge which is related to the development of the ego and of its functions. It is generated by the profound relationship that the human being has with the world or the environment or with another human being ... . It has nothing to do with perception or loneliness, but with the psychic continuity of a relationship, even if it does not immediately become conscious. Evidently, it is an unconscious drive triggered by the relationship, ... towards the difference at the basis of the ego on which it is possible to work to allow the subject to develop. Therefore, self-analysis is related to the way in which the individual is linked to the other but also to the ability to communicate with a level of experience which is similar to a condition of reverie, i. …

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