Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique

Nicolò AM. The Analytic Relationship and the Interpreting Function. Richard & Piggle, 28,

3, 2020, 237-251. 

The author tackles the theme of change in psychoanalytical theory by closely examining the most recent achievements regarding both the primitive states of the mind, theatre of the analytic couple’s unconscious exchanges, and modifications to technique that support a genuinely transformative experience. Her presentation of two clinical cases (involving a young woman and a male child) shows the crucial part that the quality of the therapeutic relationship plays in allowing change rather than a repetition of the trauma. The constantly interpreting function and the analyst’s ability to maintain an internalized setting are pinpointed as that invaluable core of psychoanalysis that outlasts every change.

Amabili B., Olivieri S. Intuition and Transformation in the Analytic Couple. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 252-263.

In this article the authors present two clinical situations (one involving an adult and the other a child) in which it was possible to experience an unexpected shift, an unforeseen change of course towards something already known that, condensed and re-named, paved the way to a sense of wonder and engaged the analytic couple in a transformative process. The authors focus on two concepts pertaining to the analyst’s mental functioning: Bion’s “intuition” and Winnicott’s “imaginative elaboration”. This with the intention of investigating the meaning of these concepts and demonstrating their clinical value. Such mental processes derive from the ability to perceive and make contact with both one’s own mental reality and that of the patient, in a way of knowing that, passing from unconscious to unconscious, can generate processes of transformation.


Bodymind Trends in Psychoanalysis

De Intinis G. Introduction. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 264-267.

Solano L. Between Mind and Body. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 268-284.

The article begins by seeking to define the problems inherent in both the dualism and the reductionist monism of a positivistic stamp. It then goes on to argue the usefulness of a position that defines body and mind as two categories connected with the perspective adopted by the observer, rather than two entities each enjoying intrinsic existence. A unitary Body-Mind perspective, which can appear like Columbus’ egg, carries with it a series of rather problematic corollaries, however: 1) within a unitary paradigm, it is necessary to find a way to re-establish a distinction or dialectic between the organism’s different levels of functioning, which can be seen as operating in parallel, ignoring each other, reciprocally influencing each other etc; 2) if body and mind are “one and the same thing” it becomes necessary to attribute to what is usually called the body the same qualities that we are accustomed to attributing to the mental sphere i.e. to consider a body that thinks, feels, responds, suffers and rejoices; a body that is relationally expressive to such an extent that one may hypothesize a corporeal transference and a corporeal counter-transference; and 3) it is necessary to rethink the origin and possible meaning of somatic symptom disorders. The article then goes on to present some clinical examples by way of illustration.

De Intinis G. Psyche-SomaBodyMind. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 285-303.

The author presents certain contributions coming from the neurosciences, infant research and psychoanalytic authors in order to rethink the subject of somatic symptom disorders during childhood. The meaning and significance of organic symptoms and illness during the age of development need to be considered in relation to the life context of the child or adolescent and his/her earliest relational experiences. Two clinical examples are given. The first concerns psychotherapy with a mother and child during which the analyst experienced a corporeal counter-transference that was to help her penetrate complex aspects of the mother-child dyad’s functioning. The second concerns a child suffering from asthma: the author highlights how profound experiences relating to his illness were communicated through unconscious emotional communications that found a possibility for expression in play and dreams. The analyst could manage to pick them up and understand them in her own counter-transference. In this second case, too, it was possible to re-establish a connection between the child’s disorder and the family context. The article highlights the need to include the parental couple in the treatment setting.

Falci A. Projective Identification and Unconscious Emotional Communication. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 304-316.

Formulated by Melanie Klein in the context of clinical psychoanalysis, projective identification is part of a more general, complex, well-structured and universal mechanism of human communication, both preverbal and unconscious. The explanation for it should be sought in the capacity for inter-human signalling of pre-verbal emotional states that, within a sensitive, dedicated relationship between partners, are understood first as states of bodily and emotional “activation” and then as mental states. A connection has been traced between some forms of enactment and the phenomena of projective identification insofar as the emotional communication between two subjects would primarily involve a process of “sharing” the other person’s body. The theories regarding embodied simulation and sub-symbolic traces can explain certain neurobiological and cognitive signs of early and preverbal emotional communications highlighted by psychoanalytic clinical practice.

Ajmone Marsan S., Raineri A. The Paris Psychosomatic School’s Perspective. A Model of the Psychoanalytical Approach with Adults, Children and Adolescents. An Interview with professor Diran Donabédian at the L. Kreisler Centre in Paris. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 317-327.

The article describes the Paris Psychosomatic School’s theoretical and clinical approach.  Starting with a historical excursus (from the 1950s to the present day), it analyses the School’s main contributions to Freudian psychoanalytical theory and clinical practice. These include the concepts of “operational thought”, “dementalization” and “disorganization”, “essential depression” and self-calming procedures: features of mental life that research and clinical observation have demonstrated to be frequently associated with somatic symptom disorders in adult patients under treatment at the IPSO-Pierre Marty in Paris. The article then goes on to provide a summary of a meeting with Professor Diran Donabédian, Director of the Centre de Psychosomatique pour bébés, enfants, adolescents et leurs familles “Léon Kreisler”, a Parisian public facility founded more recently and dedicated to the age of development and families. Some examples of his clinical work with children and adolescents are given, replete with theoretical comments. These are followed by a description of the case of an adolescent undergoing treatment, which has been taken from his book “L’adolescent et son corps”.

Clinical Reflections

Gritti A. Being Loved for what one is. Reflections on Early-Onset Chronic Illness. Richard& Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 328-337.

The article offers some reflections on the approach to studying the effects of early chronic illness on a child’s psycho-affective development. Retracing psychoanalysis’s long tradition in the area of childhood illness, it provides a succinct review of the main theoretical contributions. The article pauses, in particular, to illustrate the paradigm shift effected by Winnicott, beginning with his comment on a famous consultation with a deformed child. The author also makes use of a clinical example concerning the treatment of a young boy suffering from a chronic congenital illness as she discusses certain questions regarding the relationship between altered biological functioning and the maturation processes during infancy.

The Enchanting Screen

Oliva S. All Together. Richard & Piggle, 28, 3, 2020, 338-340.


Silvia Cimino