Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique
De Micco V. Trauma and Identity: The Primary Relationship and Autoplastic Transfor- mation. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 337-352.

Taking the Freudian concept of trauma lived afterwards as her starting-point, the author re-reads the key moments in identity establishment occurring within the primary relationship.  These range from the structural condition of Hilflosigkeit, which conditions the original traumatophilia that ties the infant to the adult, to the fact that the primary violence (see Piera Aulagnier) of the other’s desire necessarily “shapes” the Ego.


S. Andreassi. Introduction. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 353-357.

P. Aulagnier. The Right to Secrets: One of the Conditions for Thinking. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 358-373.

Piera Aulagnier’s article, “The Right to Secrets: One of the Conditions for Being Able to Think”, was first published in the Nouvelle Revue de Psychanalyse in the autumn of 1976 (no. 14), under the title “On Secrets”. As Nathalie Zaltzman writes, “This article is a genuine digest of the conditions needed if thinking is to be possible”. This issue permeates the whole of Piera Aulagnier’s work since it is inseparably linked to the challenge psychosis hurls at psychoanalytic theory and practice.

Mazzoncini G.M. Secrets and Secrecy: Defensive or Protective Areas? Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 374-380.

In this article, the author ponders the role and function that secrets assume in the psychoanalytic relationship. Secrets can have functions other than acting in defence of narcissistic integrity insofar as they can hide an unpresentable aspect of the Self, they can hide an event or action that could be criticized or punished, they can defend against a feared dangerous intrusiveness on the part of the other or, again, they can represent the private space of the Self that needs secrecy (more than specific secrets) as an element of identity. For this reason, the author considers it important to differentiate between secrecy and secrets and attributes to the former a protective and constructive value. Indeed, it protects and constructs the Self’s intimate thinking part: that authentic, inexpressible part of the Self, the Self’s private space.

Gentile A. Relationship and Opacity. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 381-388.

The author draws on Eduard Glissant’s poetics and the thinking of Piera Aulagnier and Donald Winnicott to offer a critical reflection that ranges from the transparency-imperative imposed by current trends to the right to the secrets that are indispensable to every journey in subjectivization. There can be no relationship without an eliminable degree of opacity, both at the intra-psychic level (tolerance of the not-known within oneself) and at the inter-psychic one (that which we cannot know about the other). Referring to a knowledge that remains unknown, secrets are fundamentally linked to the unconscious and occupy an essential place in psychoanalytic reflection. In the face of an “environmental” narrative that spreads the idea of an ever-greater transparency, how can a subject find a way out that can allow engagement with his/her own words and the weight of his/her enigmatic opacity?

Clinical Reflections
Benedetti F., Bonvini A., Lo Presti V., Massaccesi M., Olivieri O., Sarni M. Long-Lasting Breast-feeding as a Brake on Development. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 389-404.

Breast-feeding during the first year of life constitutes a foundational experience for the mother-child relationship. What happens, however, if a whole scientific community, headed by Unicef, gives public health guidelines regarding the benefits of breast-feeding up to the age of two and over? The article focuses attention on child development, clearly emphasising the difference of approach in the medical world from that in the psychoanalytic community. The authors criticize Unicef’s guidelines and formulate the hypothesis that prolonged breastfeeding may constitute a brake on a child’s development and his/her birth as a subject. Such considerations are then inserted into an analysis of today’s society that, in failing to offer limits and boundaries, increasingly defers the infant’s separation from its carers, thereby fuelling dependency.

Pala E. The Passage into Puberty. “Don’t Open that Door”. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 405-419.

Doubly driven by the instincts and by objects, the work of a differentiating subjectivization or subjective appropriation of the representational activity runs through the whole of development and assumes its definitive significance and characteristics precisely during adolescence. Posteriority, perturbing extraneousness and the reworking of object relations lead to a “conclusive formulation” of an Ego characterized by words and one that coincides with one’s own knowledge of oneself. The article’s underlying theme is cinema as a metaphor.
Work within Institutions

Trivisani M. Meeting the Polybus and Merope Family: Brief Notes on Adoptive-Family Observation. Richard & Piggle, 27, 4, 2019, 420-431.

The author reflects on the clinical situation of adoptive-family observation carried out for assessment and monitoring purposes on the mandate of the competent authority in the adoptive child’s foreign country of origin. In the author’s opinion, the purposes of the meeting with the family galvanize intense fantasies and thought constellations in every member of the adoptive family. Furthermore, the clinician experiences a particularly paradoxical situation since, although practising a helping profession, he is called to monitor, assess and punish. The intensity of the fantasies and, sometimes, of the adoptive parents’ projections, as well as the peculiar paradoxical situation in which the clinician finds him/herself operating, could, in certain situations, result in the ambiguous nucleus (in the sense proposed by Amati Sas, 1985 and 1992) being activated in the clinician for defensive purposes. Finally, the author hypothesizes the use of a stable and clearly defined setting as a factor that can protect the clinician’s ability to think.



Contents & Abstracts