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Faimberg, H. Corel, A. (1990). Repetition and Surprise: A Clinical Approach to the Necessity of Construction and its Validation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:411-420.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:411-420

Repetition and Surprise: A Clinical Approach to the Necessity of Construction and its Validation

Haydee Faimberg and Antoine Corel


The analysis of a dream revealed, to the surprise of both patient and analyst, identifications corresponding to different times and places. The (re)construction led to the discovery of conflicts involving three generations. We explore the clinical conditions for this discovery, and we develop the links between the concepts of 'historicity' and '(re)construction'.

The concept of (re)construction, in its very structure, implies a very fertile paradox: being by definition retroactive, it is at the same time anticipatory, in the sense that it establishes a pre-condition for access to psychical truths. The revelation of unconscious identifications (telescoping of generations) through construction enables the analyst to gain a retroactive understanding of how the patient has understood the interpretations. The analyst obtains thus the means to understand (also in a retroactive way) the value and the limits of his interpretations.

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