Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique

De Rosa E. Birth, Growth and the Encounter with Oedipus in the third millennium. Richard

& Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 113-131. 

The Oedipus myth and the discovery of the Oedipus complex not only constituted the basis for the nascent science of psychoanalysis at the end of the nineteenth century but have also permitted the blossoming of numerous humanistic, philosophical and anthropological studies on the human condition. This article looks at the Oedipal question’s century-long theoretical and clinical evolution in the minds of psychoanalysts working with children and adolescents, as well as couples. Aware that the universal Oedipus myth lays itself open to different readings and interpretations according to the historical and cultural moment in which it is revisited, the author’s new re-reading considers both the permanent theoretico-clinical validity of the Oedipus theory as a construct in our super-technological era and the changes that clinical practice imposes on psychoanalysts when facilitating the passage from the pre-oedipal phase to the oedipal one of development.


Adoption’s Topography. A Shared Journey Towards One’s Origins

Balducci P., Miceli G. Introduction. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 132-136.

Berdini G. Maps and the Quest for Origins During the Post-Adoption Phase. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 137-145.

Drawing on his experience of working in the public sector as co-ordinator of his Local Health Authority’s Adoptions Working Group, the author reflects on the characteristic features and difficulties of meetings between adoptive parents and children who have been abandoned. The map metaphor is used to describe the “layout” of the fantasies that the members of the new family experience after it is more fully formed. The author analyses the experiences of the child seeking a relationship that can contain his/her fears and allow him/her to find new hope, as well as those of the parents, grappling with the (sometimes traumatic) impact that the child’s entry into the family makes.

Guerrieri A. In search of a land to belong to. The Mutual-Help Groups Supporting Adoptive Families in an Association Context. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 146-154.

In Italy, voluntary family services are becoming increasingly central in offering support for people who intend to adopt or have already done so. These services have long been active and are developing increasingly complex modi operandi, including mutual-help groups, cultural events and publishing, networking etc. Such activities are of particular interest to those who work with families and wish to reflect more deeply on practices that can help prevent critical phases in those self-same families. The article explores the contribution made by mutual-help groups and, through an analysis of specific working methods, investigates some points of view regarding the identity of adoptive families and the critical phases in their development.

Mazzoncini G.M. Building Ties and Affective Relationships in Cases of Adoption. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 155-163.

The post-adoption journey is marked by the need for new and continuing forms of working-through that are appropriate to the whole family’s stages of development and the life events it experiences. The trauma of rejection and abandonment can, as an alien internal object, attack continuity of being and existence. The dam wall will consist in the capacity to experience affects, a constant listening and an understanding of the child’s pain. The article uses clinical examples to emphasise that there is no room for minimizing or denying the trauma. During the pre-adoption process, professionals are called to assess the quality of the parents’ internal space and their true motivations, whereas their task during the post-adoption journey is that of supporting the relationship between parents and child and helping it to grow. To this end, the author stresses the importance of working through the professionals’ instances of countertransference. Lastly, she offers some reflections on cases in which the adoption occurs in families with other, biological children. This in relation to the attendant relational experiences both between siblings and between adopted and biological children and parents.

Iannetta E. Finding one’s Bearings in a Difficult Therapy: Matilde’s Case. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 164-171.

This article offers an in-depth consideration of adoption and its revelation by parents, presenting it through the various phases of psychotherapeutic work with a little adopted girl aged five. It describes the little girl’s aggressive, angry and challenging behaviour and its possible meanings in connection with the games in which she became motionless or “dead”. Gradually, after intensive work on setting, the little patient was able to access a space in which it became possible to begin working through emotions linked not only to the sadness and anxiety caused by separation but also to shame and, finally, to the fear of coming closer to discovering “new things” about her origins.

Vecchione F. Where are my Roots? An Adoptive Family’s Journey in Search of its Origins. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 172-177.

The author’s psychotherapeutic work with a couple who were adoptive parents offered her an opportunity to observe the destructive impact their adopted son’s adolescence had on the family group. Fantasies of life and death ran through all the family’s members, fracturing the fantasy of the group’s continuity and stability. The author asks whether it is possible to consider adolescence as an adopted child’s coming to birth. She hypothesizes that precisely this developmental stage of passage – which is traumatic for parents and child alike – can, if properly traversed and understood by the adoptive parents, create the right conditions for re-thinking ties and discovering the root they share with their adopted child.

Gatti P. Watch me play! A brief intervention with an Adoptive Family. Infant Observation and Play Technique. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 178-189.

The article presents “Watch Me Play!”, a therapeutic approach conceived by Jennifer Wakelyn in 2011 and used at the Tavistock Clinic with foster families, as well as adoptive ones. It is a form of intervention based on observation and play: free play led by the child and observation on the part of the parent. The therapist, in his/her turn, observes the child and parent during the play session and subsequently helps the adult to reflect on his/her experience. The author uses the illustrative example of a specific intervention occurring during research carried out (in collaboration with the Tavistock Clinic) by the Milanese Clinical Centre run by the Italian Association of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents and Families (AIPPI). This in order to demonstrate how effective and powerful this therapeutic approach is.

Clinical Reflections

Boromei E., Corpaci L., Di Stasio R., Lamedica V., Olivi V., Olivieri S., Spacca F., Spinaci M.

Alone, in the presence of a Group. Richard & Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 190-197.

The article offers a reflection on the experience of the Marches Group of the Italian Society of Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents and Couples during lockdown. Group members were able to share their thoughts from a distance during the emergency created by Covid-19 and this experience also continued subsequently. The group proved to be an important resource during this difficult period as it allowed members’ minds to continue thinking while the world had come to a halt. The article dwells on a clinical case that was shared during the group’s evening meetings. The protagonist was a girl in the latency period, whose symptoms arose during the Covid emergency. The group acted as a container and fostered thoughts and associations that supported the psychotherapist in this clinical experience. The group sharing was equally important for helping members to leave the protective shell of their homes when everything got going again.

The Enchanting Screen

D’Amato GM. The Unthinking Society. Boys Cry (2018) and Bad Tales (2020). Richard &

Piggle, 29, 2, 2021, 198-202.



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Contents & Abstracts