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Movahedi, S. (1996). Metalinguistic Analysis Of Therapeutic Discourse: Flight Into A Second Language When The Analyst And The Analysand Are Multilingual. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 44:837-862.

(1996). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 44:837-862

Metalinguistic Analysis Of Therapeutic Discourse: Flight Into A Second Language When The Analyst And The Analysand Are Multilingual

Siamak Movahedi

The choice of a particular language for the conduct of analysis becomes an important theoretical and clinical question when both the analyst and the analysand are multilingual and share the same languages. Shift from one language into another language during analysis is an equally important question. This paper offers an analysis of the flight into a second language by both the analysand and the analyst within the transference-countertransference matrix. The focus of the discussion is the communicative nature of the mother tongue vis-à-vis a second language. The author argues that unconscious fantasies and memories of early childhood experiences are built into the mother tongue and are brought to life in the analytic dialogue by way of that language. Shift into a second language is viewed as primarily defensive in nature. It is, however, noted that a second language may at times provide the only space where the analyst can meet the patient out of reach of certain personal and cultural ghosts. Finally, since the mother tongue is viewed as the preverbal register of the transitional space, it is suggested that the working through of preoedipal issues be ultimately carried out in that language.

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