Contents & abstracts

Theory and Technique

Di Renzo M, Bonaminio V. The Kleinian concept of projective identification and the wini-

cottian concept of cross identification. a dialectic comparison. Richard & Piggle, 31,4, 2023, 353-373.

The article presents a comparison of the contributions made by Klein and Winnicott regarding the mental process of identification. Klein introduces the concept of projective identification, a primitive functioning that operates as a phantasy within the individual mind.  Through this mechanism, the child projects into the mother the aggressive, libidinal drives and split parts of the self with which he/she then identifies by re-introjecting them. With his concept of the primary mother-and-child unity, Winnicott introduces a binocular view. Two, interconnected forms of identification are involved in the earliest relationship: the mother’s empathic identification with her child and the child’s primary one with his/her mother.  These two vectors converge to create a common experience that is the matrix for the cross-identification dynamic.


Discontinuation of psychotherapy during childhood: denial of mental pain

Lugones M. Presentation. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 374-376.

Lugones M, Campisano C, D’attolico M, Marzullo C, Pacini F. Introduction. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 377-395.

The authors explore the question of why therapies are discontinued. Referring to the thinking of several authors, they conduct an in-depth study of certain concepts that allow one to grasp the complex dynamics involved in the discontinuation of psychotherapy during childhood. Denial of mental pain, dissociation, splitting and projection – the defence mechanisms at work in a discontinuation – are given a particular prominence. From the very beginning, the parents’ presence highlights a setting marked by a complex real and “ghostly” configuration that the authors explore through the concepts of bond, alliances and denegative pacts.  The text investigates the transference and counter-transference dynamics involving all the participants – parents, child and analyst – in the difficult and painful experience of the discontinuation.

Sateriale L. Between denial and recognition of the other: reflections on the discontinuation of therapy with two twins. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 396-400.

Taking the concepts of bond and unconscious alliances that weld together complex family relations, the article intends to trigger a clinical reflection on the premature ending of psychotherapeutic work with two twins. More specifically, it seeks to investigate how a perverse denegative pact became knotted into the transference and counter-transference dynamics, thereby involving the therapist in enigmatic questions regarding how to extricate herself from the relationship’s perverse element in order to be able to affirm the other person’s subjectivity.

Irilli F. Little Luna and the phases in her psychotherapy: from the beginning to a premature ending. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 401-407.

This work presents the psychotherapeutic journey undertaken with Luna, a little two-year-old girl who presented with psychosomatic symptoms affecting her respiratory system, as well as episodes of encopresis. In particular, it highlights the vicissitudes of the therapy’s discontinuation. This occurred after approximately one and a half years, following the remission of the little girl’s symptoms, when the time came to help her and her family approach themes concerning their separation-individuation. It would appear that such themes were welded onto a melancholic nucleus and a denied family pain relating to serious losses and brusque separations that had occurred in the past.

Testa A. Avoiding pain. The brusque discontinuation of psychotherapy for a six-year-old girl. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 408-412.

Clelia is a six-year-old girl who arrives accompanied by her parents, following a recommendation from her school. For the last nine months she has suffered from encopresis and various depressive traits. After about three months of treatment and despite the fact that she has carefully prepared all the materials for the next session, Clelia is no longer allowed to come to her sessions because her mother – with whom she has a symbiotic bond – telephones to communicate her desire to discontinue her daughter’s treatment. Clelia appears to be the custodian of the traumatic truncations impacting her own history and that of her family. Hers is a family in which denial seems to be the only defensive form of behaviour available for dealing with extreme mental pain and trauma.

Spinola O. “Useless hands”. The beginning and discontinuation of online psychotherapy with a boy in the latency period. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 413-418.

This article takes the account of a beginning of psychotherapy during the latency period as the vehicle for its in-depth study of the transgenerational transmission of the suffering-denial mechanism. The psychotherapeutic journey had the peculiarity of having been undertaken during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, of being conducted remotely.  The child regarding whom the parents had requested a psychological consultation was showing anger, anxiety and difficulty in separating from his parents. Although there was a good therapeutic alliance with the child, the parents’ fear of reappropriating a pain they had never faced resulted in the treatment ending prematurely. This case underlines the importance of immediately recognizing the risk factors that can underpin an early discontinuation of psychotherapeutic treatment.

Clinical reflections

Gritti A. Two around an outline, reading “therapeutic consultations in child psychiatry”.

Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 419-432.

The author investigates the nature of the therapeutic consultation. In this she follows a route involving both theory and clinical cases to which she adds her personal reflections.  Consultations that use the Squiggle Game were considered by Winnicott to be a form of psychoanalysis applied to the outpatient context. The article examines Winnicott’s text and outlines the features of this method, highlighting the complex theoretical architecture and specific elements of the clinical process. It emphasizes that consultations making use of doodles are the best way to foster the creation of potential space, profound communication between partners and the child’s contact with unintegrated elements. The author presents one of Winnicott’s accounts and a clinical case, by way of example. The article ends by indicating factors possibly limiting the method’s application.

Therapeutic Communities and Day Centres for Minors

Persiani I, Tatti G, Grignani M. The community as an intermediate space between change

and global crisis. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 433-446.

Taking a reflection on the global crisis as their starting point, the authors examine the consequences manifesting in inter-generational relations and the relationships between adolescents and their equals. They highlight the existence of a condition of equality that abolishes conflict and causes serious inadequacies in the containment function. The authors analyse the phenomenological consequences of this condition and seek to offer a perspective on the development of certain symptomatological frameworks and the manifestation of certain forms of behaviour. Lastly, they refer to the role of the therapeutic community as a space for that illusion that fosters the optimization of an adolescent’s subversive potential as the engine for creative development along the journey in subjectivization.

The Enchanting Screen

Gentile A. Me Captain (2023). Directed by Matteo Garrone. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 447-450.

Usai L. Coraline (2009). Directed by Henry Selick. Richard & Piggle, 31, 4, 2023, 451-455.


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Contents & abstracts