Contents & abstracts

Volume 30, Number 4, October-December 2022


Kenneth Wright: On the Nature of Holding in Psychotherapy and Artistic Creation

Wright K. Towards a theory of holding. the perspective offered by artistic creation. Richard & Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 351-360.

Winnicott distinguished between holding and interpretation, seeing them as two different aspects of analytic work. The article seeks to shed some light on the nature of holding, something still rather unclear that is usually left simply to the analyst’s intuition. Taking the theories developed by Winnicott and Stern as his starting point, the author invites readers to look beyond the confines of psychoanalysis and consider art, poetry and the theories of the art philosopher, Susanne Langer, as well. He hypothesizes that, during the creative process, the artist creates attuned, mirroring forms that support and preserve his/her affective self (holding structures), just as a mother does spontaneously with her infant. So, too, the analyst who, starting with a profound identification and attunement with the patient, uses language that is more evocative than explanatory, as well as images, tones of voice etc to offer said patient presentational forms that serve as holding structures for his/her experience and re-create it in a new form: one in which the patient can recognize him/herself and that he/she can interiorize.

Garms V. On being in touch. kenneth wright as a starting point for reflections on the therapeutic function. Richard & Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 361-374.

Creating a dialogue between K. Wright’s thinking, Winnicott’s writings and clinical practice, the article explores the way in which the subjective sensation of being in touch with every other person is established and renewed in human beings. The author reflects on the difficulties that therapists encounter when performing the mirroring, attunement and play functions, those complex transmodal responses that – beginning with a profound identification with the patient – can allow potential elements of the latter’s experience to be held, transformed and made real within the similar but distinct external form offered by the therapist. Using clinical material based on the squiggle game, the article raises questions about the repercussions that the unduly prolonged collapse of a responsive environment during the pandemic have had on the psyche and proposes a re-reading of the myth of Narcissus.

Celotto L. Art’s work and developmental processes. Some comments on kenneth wright’s thinking. Richard & Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 375-383.

After offering a few reflections on Modigliani’s pictorial art, the article synthesizes some of the main concepts that K. Wright sets out in his book “Mirroring and Attunement – Self Realization in Psychoanalysis and Art” (2009 – not yet translated into Italian). This text of his explores the aspects that establish and express the Self during the exchanges occurring in the primary relationship and, at the same time, draws conceptual parallels both with the forms of motivation and expression found in artistic creation and with the essence of the analytic function itself. The article takes up some of Wright’s reflections on D.W. Winnicott’s concepts of holding and mirroring in the mother-child relationship: an interaction capable of giving the child what are described as “containing forms”, those embodied maternal models representing the child’s states. Models that, once interiorized, launch the first forms of self-perception and capacity for mentalization.

Clinical Reflections

Algini ML, Bonfantini S, Castelnuovo A. Regarding the secret of one’s origin. Richard & 

Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 384-398.

Therapists in clinical practice are increasingly frequently finding themselves facing the suffering of children born after highly complex processes of medically assisted reproduction. In this article, the authors reflect on two cases that share the theme of the “secret” kept by the parents about the beginnings of their respective children’s lives and their denial that this has contributed in any way to their children’s difficulties.

Although covered by the denial, that secret circulates in the transference, however, imposing itself in the form of vestiges that cannot access representability and are capable of destabilizing affects, thinking and the feeling of Self. The authors ask how the obscure intuitions that surface during analysis may be put to use so that moving closer to the “secret” may produce a catharsis, rather than a tragedy.

Working within Institutions

Gigli F. “I don’t want to see anyone”. The psychotherapeutic setting in onco-haematology

units: between emergency and creativity. Richard & Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 399-412.

This article proposes a re-reading of setting in the delicate, complex context of an onco-haematological unit. Through the starting points offered by a clinical fragment, the re-reading pinpoints the concerns, open questions and opportunities linked to the therapeutic process in an era of big changes partly connected to the experience of the pandemic. The author offers a space for thinking not only about sessions conducted remotely and the use of devices as safeguarding tools or “therapeutic places” that activate creativity, but also about the “flexible use” that the psychotherapist is led to make of him/herself and the profession in order to foster and maintain effective, human therapeutic relationships in such challenging and painful contexts.

Therapeutic Communities and Day Centres for Minors

Vignale F. Identity still being defined. The experience of working with difficult adoles-

cents. Richard & Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 413-426.

Given the clearly increasing number of psychiatric illnesses appearing during adolescence, as well as a lowering in the age marking the onset of the first symptoms, the number of adolescents placed in residential and semi-residential treatment facilities for minors has been steadily growing over the last few years. The only way to support these realities is to apply a work model that can provide for taking global charge of the adolescent and building an intervention network: one that can have the function of re-organizing the adolescent’s psyche and thus act as an extended psychic space. What minors suffering from psychosocial malaise really need is to experience a healthy, continuing object relationship with constant, reliable, affective, real figures of reference. Relationship can, therefore, constitute the fulcrum of change. For this to happen, it is essential that there is contact and collaboration between the various institutions that, in their different ways, are involved in the treatment journey.

The Enchanting Screen

Gentile A. L’immensità (“Immensity) (2022). Directed by Emanuele Crialese. Richard &

Piggle, 30, 4, 2022, 427-429.


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