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Faimberg, H. (1997). Misunderstanding And Psychic Truths. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 78:439-451.

(1997). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 78:439-451

Misunderstanding And Psychic Truths

Haydée Faimberg

The author begins by pointing out that the psychoanalytical method and the concept of the unconscious are necessary conditions if the concept of psychic reality is to maintain its psychoanalytical relevance. She emphasises the importance of the concept of Nachträglichkeit, or retroactive assignment of new meaning, as a link between the concepts of psychic reality and historical truths on the one hand and decentred listening and misunderstanding on the other. Recalling the Freudian development of the concept of psychic reality, she stresses that ‘the other’ is present from the outset in the constitution of the psyche; she discusses the relations between intrasubjectivity and intersubjectivity in the transference and concludes that, through the function of ‘listening to listening’, misunderstanding becomes the royal path to the discovery of the patient's psychic reality. Some clinical examples are discussed in detail to illustrate the function of decentred listening. The author's viewpoint is not based on criteria concerning a correspondence, or lack of correspondence, between psychic reality and material reality. Her aim is to link psychic reality and historical truths as a way of overcoming solipsism.

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