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Journal: The International journal of psycho-analysis


Girard has recently shown how Winnicott supplies metapsychology with factual foundations. In this article, starting from an analysis of Winnicott’s assertion that metapsychological terms give the appearance of understanding whereas such understanding does not exist, the author upholds, on the one hand, the idea that metapsychological theorization corresponds to a speculative superstructure of psychoanalysis which is simply a set of auxiliary theoretical constructions aimed at describing the phenomena and their relations; and, on the other, that in psychoanalysis there is the proposition of a factual theorization comprised of concepts that are not proposed as being of a speculative nature, a theorization that claims to offer a succinct description of the phenomena and their relations. In a dialogue with Girard, Green, and Assoun, the author proposes that there is reason to distinguish two types of referents for the term metapsychology: one speculative and the other factual. That being so, it is possible to affirm that Winnicott rejected speculative metapsychological theorization, thereby indicating a distinction that can contribute to carrying out the task of integrating knowledge (factual) derived from several theoretical systems of psychoanalysis.

Concepts: Psychology, Truth, Cognition, Knowledge, Logic, Concept, Abstraction, Proposal


This paper addresses Nietzsche’s reflections on the phenomenon of dreams as a crucial precedent of Freud’s Die Traumdeutung. The works of Nietzsche and Freud are scrutinized to establish and compare the most relevant aspects of their understanding of dreams. The philosophical impact of both accounts is assessed in terms of the transvaluation of religious and metaphysical values, which reveals three epistemological shifts: the replacement of Metaphysics by History/Genealogy (Nietzsche) and by Metapsychology (Freud), and the expansion of rationality beyond the limits of consciousness (Nietzsche and Freud). Both authors are shown to consider dreams as figurative expressions of a postponed desire - or, more specifically, as the imaginary fulfillment (compensation) and the evocation/awakening of desire. As captured by the phrase “Memento libidines”, dreams are portrayed in both accounts as the guardians of sleep and desire. Finally, and in contrast with Assoun, a new interpretation of Thus Spoke Zarathustra is proposed, as an interpretation of the prophet’s dreams reveals the presence of individual desire within the Nietzschean understanding of the phenomenon.

Concepts: Philosophy of mind, Philosophy, Unconscious mind, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, The Interpretation of Dreams, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Übermensch


The integration of psyche and soma begins with a baby’s earliest contact with his or her parents. With the help of maternal empathy and reverie, β-elements are transformed into α-elements. While we understand this to be the case, we would like to enquire what actually happens to those parts of the affect which have not been transformed? For the most part they may be dealt with by evacuation, but they can also remain within the body, subsequently contributing to psychosomatic symptoms. This paper describes how the body serves as an intermediate store between the psychic (inner) and outer reality. The authors focuses on the unconscious communicative process between the analyst and the analysand, and in particular on how psychosomatic symptoms can spread to the analyst’s body. The latter may become sensitive to the analysand’s psychosomatic symptoms in order to better understand the psychoanalytical process. Sensory processes (visual and auditory) and psychic mechanisms such as projective identification can serve as a means for this communication. One of the first analysts to deal with this topic was Wilhelm Reich. He described one kind of psychosomatic defence like a shell, the character armour, comparing the armour formed by muscle tension with another, more psychical type of armour. This concept can be linked to Winnicott’s contribution of the false self and later on to Feldman’s concept of compliance as a defence. The authors links further details of the clinical material with theoretical concepts from Joyce McDougall, Piera Aulagnier, and Ricardo Rodulfo and Marilia Aisenstein. With the aid of the complex concept of projective identification, as described by Heinz Weiss, the authors discusses the important question of how the analyst gets in touch with the patient’s current psychosomatic state, and describes a specific communication between the body of the psychoanalyst and the body of the patient. A vignette illustrates in greater detail the relationship between this theoretical understanding and an actual clinical example. In the session described, the analyst reacts to the patient with an intense body-countertransference, taking on the patient’s symptoms for a short time. The patient, who had been unable to integrate psyche and soma (whose psyche did not indwell (Winnicott) in his body), projected the untransformed β-elements into his body, where they emerged as bodily symptoms. The body became a kind of intermediate store between inner and outer reality. By internalizing the patient’s symptoms in his own body, the analyst created a bodily communication - something in between concerning the inner and the outer reality of both participants of the analytic dyad. The analyst was able to recognize his psychosomatic experience as the fear of dying, and to work through his bodily countertransference. This is described in detail. The emerging understanding of the countertransference helped the analyst to contribute to the patient’s process of transforming his symptoms. The analyst was able to help the patient get in touch emotionally with many traumatic situations experienced during his life. The function of the psychosomatic symptoms was to contain the patient’s fear of death. These frightening feelings could now be worked through on a psychical level; they could enter into a process of symbol formation so that the psychosomatic symptoms were no longer necessary and disappeared.

Concepts: Psychology, Death, Analytical chemistry, Theory, Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Parapsychology


Freud defined hypochondria as an actual neurosis. In this paper the actual neurosis will be interpreted as unbound traumatic elements which threaten the self. In severe hypochondria, breakdowns have occurred, as outlined by Winnicott. The nameless traumatic elements of the breakdown have been encapsulated. The moment these encapsulated elements are liberated, an actual dynamic takes place which threatens the self with annihilation. Projective identification is not possible because no idea of containment exists. The self tries to evacuate these elements projectively, thus triggering a disintegrative regression. However, the object of this projection, which becomes a malign introject, is felt to remove the remaining psychical elements, forcing the worthless residue back into the self. In a final re-introjection, the self is threatened by unintegration. To save the self, these elements are displaced into an organ which becomes hypochondriacal, an autistoid object, protecting itself against unintegration and decomposition. An autistoid dynamic develops between the hypochondriac organ, the ego and the introject. Two short clinical vignettes illustrate the regressive dynamical and metapsychological considerations.

Concepts: Psychological trauma, Psychoanalysis, Psychological projection, Defence mechanism, Hypochondriasis


A considerable gap exists between clinical psychoanalytic concepts and psychoanalytic practice. It can be traced back to the early beginnings of psychoanalysis and to Freud’s own handling of concepts that he had developed himself. Focusing on the concept of ‘transference’ that Freud in several steps coined so precisely from his experiences with hysteric patients and especially from his understanding of the ‘Dora’ case, it can be shown that he - seen from today - could not fully apply the meaning of his own concept in the later treatment of the so-called ‘Rat Man’. Freud’s ‘Original record of the case’ is used to scrutinize his way of understanding and handling the transference with this patient. To a substantial extent transference as well as counter-transference was rather enacted than understood in this case, partly due to Freud’s own personal and scientific interests and to his ambitions to use this case as a demonstration of his therapeutic approach. In order to show this, it is unavoidable to correct several blurry or even misleading passages of Strachey’s translation. Findings from numerous workshops using ‘comparative clinical methods’ indicate that up till now we analysts - like Freud - have great difficulties in applying Freud’s incredible insight that “a whole series of former psychic experiences comes alive not as the past but as the present relationship to the person of the physician” (Freud, 1905c [1901], p. 279/280, my translation).

Concepts: Perception, Ontology, Meaning of life, Concept, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Transference


This article explores through a psychoanalytical lens the character of Achilles in Homer’s Iliad, the matrix behind the Western conception of heroism. The contribution reveals the psychological link binding the words and acts of the most valiant of warriors in Antiquity, which is situated in myth and termed “the Eros of the absolute.” The paroxystic ideality underlying the aforementioned myth, which is rooted in the anthropological need to believe, is at the origin of Achilles' legendary μῆνις, that is, the flood of rage triggered by contests for supremacy, aggravated by the loss of his war comrade, aroused by the drama of aging and death, and then transfigured through song and memory. The main claim of the author is that Iliad, despite its seeming lack of attention to interiority, is launched by the archetypal emotion of wrath and owes its appeal to its hero’s embrace of heroic idealism in an excessive, radical and absolute way that results in a captivating narcissism and sadomasochistic antithesis of ideality. This argument leads to the conclusion that Homer is the Father of the “primitive horde” of affects.

Concepts: Psychology, Achilles, Hero, Trojan War, Homer, Iliad, Apollo, Epic Cycle


The power of Dante’s Divine Comedy is unmistakable, but surprising in view of its theological structure and assumptions that are no longer current among most modern readers. This paper suggests that its power derives from the deep psychological truthfulness with which Dante deals with the painful personal crisis that underlies the poem and is his starting point. It attempts to clarify what may have constituted that crisis, and why the structure of the Comedy, and in particular its use of two guides, Virgil and Beatrice, who might be thought a somewhat incompatible pairing, point significantly to the nature of the solution Dante arrived at. In particular it suggests that the puzzling fictions to do with Statius in the Purgatorio are a clue to Dante’s own difficulties in bridging the classical and Christian traditions, and that his highly original solution to these difficulties, by no means conforming to conventional Christian orthodoxy in the 13th/14th century, was needed with special urgency in a time of pervasive civil conflict.

Concepts: Dante Alighieri, Hell, Divine Comedy, Beatrice Portinari, Inferno, Virgil, Paradiso, Purgatorio


This paper lays out a formulation of the psychoanalytical contribution to linguistic metaphor theory. The author’s main argument is that psychoanalysis can help enrich and shed light on linguistic metaphor theories, since these have focused on the cognitive aspect, to the exclusion of the role played by affect. Based on the tight link between metaphor and symbol - both configurations of figurative language - the author shall apply ideas sourced from some of the key psychoanalytic symbolization theories, focusing in particular on Klein, Winnicott, and Ogden. The course of exploration will serve to trace the unconscious emotional aspects that participate in the metaphor’s mechanism, just as they participate in the symbol’s workings. The study leads to the main conclusion that the intersubjective transitional space is of substantial importance to metaphor’s constitution, particularly in regard to novel metaphors. Expanding the understanding of metaphor’s modus operandi has important implications in conceptual clarification and for an in-depth analytical work, and is of immense significance when it comes to analytical work with patients who suffer impairment of their metaphoric ability.

Concepts: Psychology, Greek loanwords, Language, Metaphysics, Conceptual metaphor, Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Analysis of subjective logics


This paper suggests that in the analysis of women by women a melancholic core may be encountered at the centre of the transference/countertransference situation that is an expression of the loss of the primary maternal object that has never been mourned. The attachment to the primary, lost object may be preserved in a melancholic, invisible way, and the longing that it is connected to might only reach representation in the après coup of the analytic process. The links between this primary love, melancholia and the unrepresentable in the analysis of women will be explored. These analyses powerfully evoke the relationship to the somatic. The internalization of the body of the mother, which is a requirement in the development of a woman, can take on frightening, fragmented, part-object qualities. An example of a five times a week analysis is discussed.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Mathematical analysis, Interpersonal relationship, Logic, Woman, The Loss, Analysis, Melancholia


This article presents a unique collection of narratives of separation - unique because the separation here is from psychoanalysis and from Freud as analyst. These narratives were published as part of memoirs written about Freud by three of his patients. Their narratives of separation give us an innovative point of view on the psychoanalytic process, in particular with respect to the importance they place on the termination phase of the analysis at a time when Freud himself had not given it much consideration. The three autobiographical texts are Abram Kardiner’s memoir (1977); the memoir of Sergei Pankejeff, known as the Wolf Man (Gardiner, ); and ‘Tribute to Freud’, by the poet H.D. (). These three distinguished narratives are discussed here as works of translation, as understood by Walter Benjamin (1968 [1955]), Paul Ricoeur (2006 [2004]), and Jean Laplanche (1999 [1992]). They express translation under three aspects: reconstruction of the past (the work of memory), interpreting the conscious residues of the transference (the work of mourning), and, as a deferred action, deciphering the enigmatic messages received from Freud as the parental figure. This representation of the analysand’s writing suggests that the separation from analysis is an endless work of translation within the endless process of deciphering the unconscious.

Concepts: Psychotherapy, Unconscious mind, Translation, Psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalytic theory, Transference, Jean Laplanche