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J E P - Number 12-13 - Winter-Fall 2001

Introduction



As always, this double issue of JEP features several sections with the intention of bringing together various contributions of very different, or even opposing points of view, as a reflection of the varied and complex panorama of psychoanalysis today.

In the first section, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, we unite two philosophical contributions that, at first sight at least, would seem to be as far away from each other as they could be. John R. Searle is one of the best-known exponents of Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophy and philosophy of mind: the lecture published in this issue, presented in Italy, does not deal with psychoanalysis as such, but rather summarizes the fundamental points of his approach to the philosophy of mind.
Michel Henry, on the other hand, is a French phenomenologist philosopher who stands out for his own very original phenomenological approach: in this conversation he reconstructs the historical development of life philosophies (in particular Descartes, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche), which effectively led to the ideas of Freud. We are publishing such contrasting approaches not as an attempt at Solomonic equidistance from philosophy of mind (Anglo-American) and phenomenological philosophy (Euro-continental), but rather to bring out the surprising affinities between two currents of thought that have always seemed unable to communicate with each other.

Three sections are devoted to psychoanalysis today in the USA, Russia and Italy. In this case too we decided to adhere to the criterion of uniting heterogeneous approaches. The USA has been, and still is, the world’s “psychoanalytical super-power”; Russia, on the other hand, is at its beginnings, with a psychoanalytical history dating back no more than ten years—in this case too, one would have been hard put to find two histories that differ as much as these.
In Psychoanalysis in the US we have placed side by side a lecture by Otto Kernberg on a classical subject American psychoanalysis has particularly distinguished itself in—the analysis of narcissistic personalities—and an analysis by Judith Feher-Gurewich of Jacques Lacan’s influence in America (more relevant among the intelligentsia than in clinical practice). As a parallel, in Psychoanalysis in Russia, we have decided to accompany the contribution of the Russian Mikhail Reshetnikov—documenting these ten years of the enthusiastic, and at the same time struggling, birth of psychoanalysis in Russia—with an essay by the American Daniel Rancour-Laferriere on the archaic cult of icons and the Mother of God which is still rooted as much as ever in Russian culture.
In New Trends in Italian Psychoanalysis, the principle is the same: to document original new investigative trends—with radical differences among them—in contemporary Italian psychoanalysis. Giampaolo Lai applies a type of analysis he created and instituted—conversationalism—for a type of pathology analysts usually flee from: Alzheimer’s. The psychotherapist Tullio Carere-Comes illustrates—in his essay “The Logic of the Therapeutic Relationship” and in his conversation with Lawrence Friedman—an approach that his Italian supporters call “integrated psychotherapy”. Diego Napolitani illustrates an analytical trend that has enjoyed considerable success in Italy: Group Analysis, inspired by the theories and practice of S. Foulkes and W.R. Bion. While Lai’s “conversationalism” basically follows Anglo-Saxon style analytic language philosophies and Carere-Comes’s “integrationalism” tries to integrate various techniques (cognitivism, contributions by Friedman, psychoanalysis of the Klein-Winnicott-Bion current), Napolitani’s “Group Analysis” illustrates the huge influence of Bion’s works on the Italian psychoanalytical scenario. The essay by child analyst Giancarlo Rigon dedicated to applications of Anna Freud’s Metapsychological Profile bears witness to the vitality in Italy of a trend that follows Ego Psychology—Austrian to begin with, then American—and therefore diverges from the hegemony of the Klein-Bion line in Italian psychoanalytical culture.

With this issue JEP launches a new debate section that we hope will continue fruitfully: Crisis of Psychoanalysis? Naturally the question mark leaves the range of possible answers as open as ever. In many countries, particularly the USA and Italy, talk of a crisis of psychoanalysis (or even its death) on the theoretical, clinical, ethical, professional, institutional etc. plane has become a cliché. In this section, as in the others, we —rather provocatively—present texts that differ dramatically in style and perspective.
The section opens with a text by the late Elvio Fachinelli, a well-known Italian analyst who passed away in 1989: in these pages, which we have taken from a book still not translated into English, he poses some impertinent questions on the end of analysis and the way analysis is conducted. Although Fachinelli had always been a member of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (IPA), in these pages—as in other works of his—he comes across as very critical towards the technique and ethics of orthodox Freudian analysis. He criticizes the lengthening duration of analytic treatments with arguments and examples taken also from the history of psychoanalysis.
Horst Kächele from Germany presents in a concise way his now well-known research on the therapeutic effectiveness of psychoanalysis, through methods and survey tools taken from the social sciences which he applies in the clinical field. Kächele’s intention is to show how the analytical cure is effective even beyond the specific criteria of analysis. The essay by the Italian Sergio Benvenuto deals with a recent Nanni Moretti’s film—“The Son’s Room”—to develop a more general discourse on “the end of analysis” considered as its crisis, or the end of an orthodox model for analysis. Finally, a 1982 article by French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy—author, together with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, of a well-known study on Lacan—interprets Lacan’s work as signaling the end of psychoanalysis, to be read, however, as… an endless end.

We hope that the variety and diversity of these four contributions may help launch a deep-rooted debate on the future of psychoanalysis and the conditions of its rebirth as a scientific discipline.



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