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O'Shaughnessy, E. (1990). Can a Liar be Psychoanalysed. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:187-195.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:187-195

Can a Liar be Psychoanalysed

Edna O'Shaughnessy


At first glance a liar is an inauspicious patient for a psychoanalysis, a treatment based on truthfulness. Because it presents in speech, lying may seem a mature difficulty, but analysis reveals that it is primitive, linked to the habitual liar's doubts and anxieties about communication with primary objects which, from several causes, have become for him lying objects. As expected, lying makes for a series of problems which handicap the analytic process. Even so, the paper illustrates clinically the view that if the fundamental level of the lying that emerges in the analysis is addressed by understanding it as the liar's communication that he is a liar in identification with, and acutely anxious about, his lying object—in the transference the analyst—a genuine analytic process can be set in train.

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