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In “Constructions in analysis” (1937), S. Freud compared the analyst’s work to that of the archaeologist searching among vestiges, with the big difference that the object of our work is alive, and working with it causes fear, pain and suffering. Last year, during a visit to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, impressed by the strangeness of the atmosphere, by people carbonised by lava, eternal statues in a shocking atemporality among the archaic objects and traces of the place, I picked up the thread of psychoanalytic reflections on such ruins, vestiges, the layers of “ash” also present in the human psyche and their relevance in the work of the analytic cure. How to communicate the unthinkable, the unsayable, the un-representable, the barely figurable? How to transform traces of your “ancestors’ ancestors’ ancestors”, even as passed down from Superego to Superego, or via inter-transgenerational transmissions? How to transform the formless into form?
From S. Freud to D. W. Winnicott, and W. Bion, from A. Green and J. McDougall, via D. Anzieu and R. Roussillon, the author is proposing to revisit the psychic vestiges as they are expressing during the analytic process.
Midlife is an age of crisis according to many authors, as it sets the subject up against the inevitability of the ageing process, loss, and the limitedness of life. Most authors view midlife as an age of crisis where everything can be staked back into the game. But some other authors have highlighted how midlife is characterised by a new burst of creativity, by new object investments and by a redressing of the balance between narcissism (which decreases) and object investments for which a larger share of the libido becomes available. The Author thinks that it seems worthwhile to make a distinction between midlife, as indicative of a phase of life, and maturity, construed as a psychic position which is relatively independent of age.
Therefore, she explores the creativity area of the trans-generational transmission, quoting some psychoanalysts and poets, and introducing a clinical example of the mourning process for losses inherent in the passing of time and the development of tolerance capacities to deal with a change in the balance between the libido and narcissism.
Then the Author affords a specific difficulty in transmitting a trans-generational mandate, when the treatment concerns cases of severe trauma, like victims of collective trauma and mass murders. What can be transmitted in these cases if the psychological concatenation between the generations is interrupted and breaks down? How can it be linked up again? The story and re-elaboration by Henri Parens is brought as an example to be studied and commented.
The present paper is an attempt to create bridges of understanding between the subjective investigation in the psychoanalytic situation and the empirical research concerning a subject not enough explored in its earliest dimensions – the place and role of the father in the first year of the child’s life. As part of a more extensive empirical research on the dynamics of child development in the first year of life, the research presented in this article was built and articulated within the psychodynamic theories of development, it was conducted in the form of a standardized research and generated a series of results that are re-integrated into the psychoanalytic understanding, validating and being validated by psychoanalytic knowledge. The central point of this encounter between the psychodynamic understanding and the results of empirical research is that the father is an active presence in the development of the child from the first year of life, in a formula of internal and external triadic relationship and that one of the most important function of the father in this early stage of life is to facilitate a way for the child to build his own loving and creative relationship with the world.
The majority of book-to-film adaptations operate more or less important adjustments on the initial text. In this respect, the present article attempts to investigate the psychoanalytical relevance of such a textual intervention in Roman Polanski’s 1992 film, “Bitter Moon”, based on Pascal Bruckner’s novel, “Lunes de fiel” (1981). The analysis takes the Freudian theories on sadomasochism and death instinct as a starting point.
The clinical vignettes evoked in this text open up, I hope, new lines of thinking and reflection, necessary in approaching the following fundamental issue: what does the archaic aspect of the analytic relationship consist of, considered a determining element for the changes and transformations induced by the psychoanalytical protocol? An indispensable question for the deepening of means of evolution for the psychoanalytical technique, directly determined by the diversity of personality structures and defence mechanisms which the method has been confronted with the past years. All the more so that what can be brought to light from the past never represents a faithful witness of the prehistoric age, but rather a heterogeneous product to the extent that every stage of life traversed by the human subject modifies in its turn « primitive » experiences. This is also the reason for which states of pathogenic regression do not allow an exact reconstitution of original situations. Especially since there is not much said about origin. Only the paradox can be noticed, that the origin is different from the archaic. An archaic that continues to produce meaning in the present, forcing psychoanalytical practice and its practitioners to adapt to modernity, thorough the strangest and most unexpected clinical forms thus convoked.