Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique
C. Haag. The Contribution That Psychoanalytical Treatment of Autism Can Make to Knowledge of How the Body-Ego is Structured. Richard e Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 325-337.

This paper examines the contributions that the psychoanalytical treatment of autism has made to the real discoveries about the difficulties young autistic patients have in integrating sensory and bodily perceptions. Recognizing and interpreting painful experiences stemming from these difficulties seems to help achieve these integrations. The normal developmental milestones can be recognized in these children, too. Thus it would be possible to establish a Grid listing the successive stages in which children with autism build their bodily images.  This could be used as a tool for assessing the changes occurring during the psychotherapeutic process.

S. Maiello. Geneviève Haag’s article “The Contribution That Psychoanalytical Treatment of Autism Can Make to Knowledge of How the Body-Ego is Structured” Discussed. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 338-343.

Variability and Complexity in The Thinking on Gender Identity

P. Marion. Current Perspectives within the Variability and Complexity in The Thinking on Gender Identity. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 344-355.

In retracing the psychoanalytical thinking about gender identity disorders, the author poses a twofold question: what point has psychoanalytical research on these phenomena reached and in what context can we place the problems relating to gender identity? In these cases, the engagement is with an extreme otherness that challenges the common thinking tending not only to make sex coincide with gender but also to base identity on this coinciding. This otherness also challenges psychoanalytical thinking. The possibility of observing children presenting with this problem in a very early age-band offers a rare and valuable opportunity to construct hypotheses regarding the meaning that recourse to this solution has, in terms of internal personal balance. Taking the literature on the subject into consideration and commenting on the clinical cases that are subsequently presented, the author shows that the task of acquiring one’s identity is a complex process and one nourished by the interweaving of various factors that are both anatomical/biological and relational.  Above all, however, it is a journey that must pass through experiences of separation, individuation and differentiation that are continually being replayed during the various moments of development.

T. Carratelli and V. Massaro. The Pink Boy: in Search of Lightness of Being. Theoretico-Clinical Notes. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 356-372.

The authors reflect on their clinical experiences with pink boys and the respective parent couples. They highlight how the stories told by these children’s mothers led them to hypothesize that the male child’s genitals constituted, for these mothers, a “traumatic situation” of early sexual differentiation and mobilized a “primitive idealization” of the womanly Self which was projected onto the son: a defence that went on to influence perceptions during pregnancy, birth and the early phases of development.
The purpose of this article is therefore to (re)construct Lili’s story. That is to say, reconstruct the experiences of that effeminate, pink, ideal, primitive Self assumed by the son early on (through processes of “imitating in order to perceive and imitating in order to be”) that is in search of a concretization of its presence in the body of said son.
Fathers of pink boys emerge as “participating observers” of the primitive idealization, taking part in it collusively at a deep level.
Analytic treatment is called, amongst other things, to focus on and manage a “micro delirium” that not only operates a deux within the mother-child relationship but also infiltrates and affects the various members of the family in different ways.

R. Quintiliani. Cancelling Gender Differences. The Boy Who Did Not Want to be Male. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 373-382.

The author presents clinical material taken from the psychotherapeutic treatment of a four-year-old boy with gender identity problems. Following D. Houzel’s theory, the author has traced the cause of the child’s difficulties to the primary container’s failure to integrate her own psychic bisexuality. The child appears to have had an early experience of a primary object that kept him at a distance instead of welcoming him. His subsequent defensive processes of identification with this object (perceived as having male and female characteristics that were not integrated) made it difficult for him to achieve a clear gender identity of his own.

M. Reggio. Viola and the Shadow of a Femininity. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 383-399.

The author recounts the clinical case of a three-year-old girl, proposing a reading of the aspects that go to make up gender identity at an early age and highlighting the obstacles to their development. Breast-feeding, caring, trans-generational transmission and parental fantasies and anxieties are the areas through which it is possible to trace the structuring of difficulties in identifying with femininity. The author suggests that the very first relations with the maternal function are the corporeal place where the feminine identity emerges. These are re-read within the instances of transference and counter-transference.

Clinical Reflections
M. Monticelli. Short-term Individual Psychotherapy for Small Children and Their Families: the Under-Five Model. Richard & Piggle, 24, 4, 2016, 400-414.

This article has the purpose of illustrating a type of short-term psychotherapeutic intervention for small children and their families that envisages up to five meetings that can be followed by a maximum of five further meetings. Brief interventions and the tool of psychoanalysis are sometimes considered roads hard to reconcile. The Under Five intervention, on the other hand, has the specific feature of bringing these two conditions together in such a way that the psychoanalyst’s skill (i.e. his/her understanding of the mind’s deep, unconscious dimensions) may also be used in a treatment context that envisages a limited timeframe. The article describes the debate that has developed around it. Through reflection on the information emerging from her experience and with the support of clinical examples, the author seeks to highlight the limits of such an intervention, on the one hand, and the possibilities of a transformation, on the other.