Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique

Short or full Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in Cases of Children’s Mourning

Carratelli T.I. and Bonaminio V. Introduction. Working Through Children’s Very Early Mourning Using Short Or Full Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 221-226.

Rossi M. Lisa And Baba Yaga: When Oedipal Work Is Intertwined With The Work Of Mourning. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 227-239.

The joyful and long awaited event of Lisa’s birth tragically coincided with the discovery of her mother’s illness, an illness that was to carry her off when the little girl was three years old. Right from the start, for Lisa (and her father) the therapy’s space took the shape of a possibility: that of naming her mother, of being able both to draw her and to construct and preserve her memory. But it also, gradually, became the space in which to be able to think about that unthinkable story of her own birth and arrival in the world. Child and therapist were to be met halfway by fairy stories: the ones that could be told, that externalised fears of witches and could draw them both in the direction of difficult oedipal work. Just like in Afanasyev’s Vasilisa the Beautiful, here in reality, the rival really was done away with and the therapist had to become now the mother who disappears but reappears alive, now the terrifying Baba Yaga who could be attacked and destroyed but who also needed to survive in order to give Lisa back the possibility of being freed from the shackles of a primary, primitive sense of guilt preceding even her oedipal one, and of building creative, repairing screen memories.

Lucchetti L. “When The King Turns Up, You’ve Lost”: Working Through Children’s Mourning While Limit-Setting. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 240-251.

Short psychoanalytic psychotherapy acted as a catalyst stimulating development in Clementina, a little girl in the latency period who, after losing her father, came into therapy divided in two: whilst admitting her parent’s death, she was unable to recognise him in photographs. Hence the question of whether this was a case of childhood amnesia caused by excessive repression or, rather, a repudiation underpinned by denial? In addition to reflections on the work of the negative, the article pauses to consider the structure of short therapy, in an attempt to outline its good and bad features whilst highlighting what it mobilizes in the therapist.

Carratelli T.I. There, Where The Sun Sets: Theatres Of The Body And The Mind Glimpsed Through Different Analytical Lenses. Notes on Margherita’s And Lara’s Clinical Work. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 252-265.

The author offers various reflections on the application of full or short analytic therapy to children’s mourning following the very early loss of a parent. Particular emphasis is given to the different ways in which the two types of psychotherapy explore the Unconscious. During intense psychotherapy, there is the possibility of understanding areas of the intrapsychic, interpersonal, repressed and unrepressed, ectopic and transgenerational psyche in action. During short psychotherapy, the focus is on the unconscious oedipal conflicts that have not been worked through and are interfering with the psychic work of mourning. In the case of Lisa, the three-year-old girl, the author raises questions regarding somatic expressions of a pathological mourning such as constipation. She hypothesizes that if persistent constipation is not treated in good time by way of analytic psychotherapy, it can take the form of a somatic precursor to melancholia, which finds its expression in late adolescence and adulthood. Treated by way of short analytic psychotherapy, Clementina’s case exemplifies how this technical approach constitutes an excellent catalyst for the developmental processes. When well applied, it is capable of “repairing” certain elements obstructing the symbolization process that are linked to an imbalance between denial and negation. This repair is necessary because it is the symbolization process that permits the work of mourning during the age of development.


Adolescence On Stand-By: Stories From The Pandemic

Borrelli A. and Tonucci F. Introduction. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 266-273.

Following through on the proposal launched in Richard and Piggle’s fourth issue for 2020, the authors seek to enrich the discussion about psychoanalysis for children and adolescents during the period of the pandemic. This they do by availing themselves of the contributions presented by groups belonging to the Association of Italian Groups Providing Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (AGIPPsA) during the latter’s annual seminars. The apparent period of stasis imposed by the anti-Covid rules generated new ideas and new and original forms of intervention, demonstrating the staying-power of the psychoanalytic method and technique, albeit adapted to fit the necessary adjustments that had to be made. This challenge resulted in a proliferation of projects, institutional interventions and technical adaptations so as to remain in contact with adolescents and pick up the distress signals that they have sent out to the adult world. After being the most resilient during the first phase of the pandemic, the adolescent world has subsequently sounded an alarm that most often has been linked to isolation, the lack of sociality and the absence of physical contact. The absence of schooling has helped to aggravate the picture, proving to constitute a loss of opportunities and social rites that are highly important for an adolescent’s growth. The pandemic caught them by surprise during a highly formative moment during which they have had to add other types of mourning to the mourning for their loss of childhood. This malaise has needed to be listened to and helped and requires the kind of treatment that is not just attention but a shared project over time.

Cecchetti P. Where Are The Bodies? Richard & Piggle, 229, 3, 2021, 274-281.

In a Liceo on the outskirts of Rome, the psychotherapist (a presence in the school for approximately ten years) listens to the malaise communicated by young people who, with the advent of Covid, have been heavily infected by the climate of demotivation, dis-identification and depressivity. The difficult goal of achieving a sense of identity is dramatically linked to gender problems. This reality cannot be tackled without also working on teachers’ burn-out and the crisis that families are facing. Acrostics and analytic psychodrama were the methods employed to turn the situation into a dynamic one.

Rainò E., Anichini A., Cappelli P. and Longo E. Real Network And Virtual Network. Transformations And Continuity In Care For Socially Withdrawn Adolescents During The Covid-19 Pandemic. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 282-289.

During the Covid-19 emergency, patients suffering from social withdrawal and complex psychopathologies remained in contact with their hospital’s Child Neuropsychiatry Department through sessions and interviews conducted remotely. After also suffering an initial phase of shock themselves, the health professionals outlined roadmaps for reaching their patients and finding new ways of letting them know that they were there, by their side, in any case, despite everything. In parallel, collaboration with colleague psychotherapists working outside the hospital environment made it possible to keep on with their work in a network. During this time of health-care emergency, all the professionals involved in the network found themselves walking a tightrope amidst the storms of adolescence in situations of serious psychopathology made even more complex by the pandemic. They nevertheless trusted that mental growth can spring from an experience of turbulence that, if mirrored, understood and supported, can become transformative.

Ambrosecchia L. Navigating Suspended Time. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 290-296.

This article offers a reflection on how migrant adolescents benefitting from a Siproimi/SAI reception project might have experienced this period of lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus proposed by the author emphasises the existential anxieties elicited by a “suspended time” that seems to re-evoke the condition of suspension already (or still being) experienced during the long bureaucratic waiting period lived in the hope of obtaining a response to the request for international protection. A psychoanalytic reading provides the tools needed to grasp the complexity characterising young migrants struggling with a “double identity transition” that is both migratory and adolescent. In such cases, the house temporarily lived in under the reception project becomes the container to be taken care of and inside which a body fully undergoing adolescent transformation will, perhaps, be able to find its abode and meaning.

Balbo M., Genre C., Minafra M. and Sciaudone F. A Sweet Sms: Promoting Resilience In The Time Of Covid. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 297-304.

Realised by Area G in conjunction with the Municipality of San Maurizio Canavese during the Covid-19 emergency, “a sweet SMS” was a journey in inclusion towards a resilient community through the activation of an ability to take care of each other. The demands dictated by the pandemic made a change of setting possible, shifting from the “public home” to private homes for a common project. In a circular process, those participating first benefitted from the intervention and then became protagonists and promoters in their turn. Biscuits were the vehicle for emotions and solidarity that, passing from house to house through screens, transmitted a message of closeness and sharing during a time when distance between people was the order of the day. Creativity was channelled to produce the reciprocity of dialogue, giving, exchanging and nourishing, thereby fostering repeatable forms of involvement promoting wellbeing and social inclusion.

Bonaminio G., Fiderio G., Lucchetti L., Nitiffi C., Petruzzelli I. and Servidio M. Blocked Paths. Adolescents’ Sense Of Loss In The Time Of Covid-19. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 305-311.

This article presents some clinical excerpts from cases of psychotherapy with adolescents that continued remotely during the Covid-19 emergency. It seeks to relate how the traumatic fallout from lockdown and the consequent loss of existential continuity triggered, in some of them, a regression towards defences deployed during childhood.

Finocchietti S. Adolescent Experiences Of Falling Over And Getting Up Again During Lockdown. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 312-317.

The article gathers together various adolescent experiences encountered during the lockdown period through psychotherapy conducted at a distance. It seeks to narrate how the social restrictions were experienced and what they led to for some young people, considering them also from the latters’ perspective. Lastly, attention is paid to the kind of communication conditions that were created remotely and what adaptations were necessary.

Clinical Reflections

Cardarelli B. and Iezzi M. Lockdown And Psychotherapy For Children And Adolescents:

Clinical Reflections And Examples. Richard & Piggle, 29, 3, 2021, 318-332.

The article offers reflections on the change of setting in psychotherapeutic work with children and adolescents during the Covid-19 pandemic: a change partly resulting from discussion and comparisons with colleagues. Two clinical situations, in particular, are presented: one involving an eight-year-old girl and the other concerning a young girl aged eighteen. During the online sessions, the little girl’s response proved to be more active and engaged, whereas the older girl’s reaction was more problematic and persecutory, primarily in relation to the absence of the canonical setting and the patient’s difficulty in carving out a private space for herself that was separate from that of her family. The authors pause to describe and analyse the unexpected dynamics that Covid-19’s unforeseeable arrival has revealed in the two different psychotherapeutic settings.

The Enchanting Screen

Gentile A. Germany, Year Zero (1948). Directed by Roberto Rossellini. Richard & Piggle, 29,

3, 2021, 333-336.