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Di Chiara, G. (2001). La memoria sensoriale delle relazioni. Ipotesi verificabili di psicoterapia psicoanalitica [The sensory memory of relationships. Verifiable hypotheses of psychoanalytic psychotherapy]. Andrea Seganti. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri. 1995. Pp. xiv + 255.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 82(4):833-834.

(2001). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 82(4):833-834

La memoria sensoriale delle relazioni. Ipotesi verificabili di psicoterapia psicoanalitica [The sensory memory of relationships. Verifiable hypotheses of psychoanalytic psychotherapy]. Andrea Seganti. Turin: Bollati Boringhieri. 1995. Pp. xiv + 255.

Review by:
Giuseppe Di Chiara

Translated by:
Philip Slotkin

Andrea Seganti is one of a group of Italian research workers concerned with empirical verification of the psychotherapeutic experience. According to the author, a training analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytical Society, the ‘fact’ of the therapeutic efficacy of psychoanalysis must not be isolated from the search for the determinants of that efficacy. The book under review is based on this assumption. It falls into two sections, ‘Verifiable hypotheses of psychoanalytic psychotherapy’ and ‘The prototype and its variations method (PVM)’. Examples of the method itself are given in two appendices.

In the introduction the author draws attention to what he sees as the epistemological difficulties confronting psychoanalysts—namely, on the one hand, the ‘virtually indefensible late-positivist model of Freudian metapsychology’ and, on the other, the ‘unfavourable influence of the hermeneutic model’ in its strongest form. In the author's view, we must abandon both the requirement of a general, all-embracing theory and an illusory pre-theoretical pragmatism (p. 4)

Seganti reconstructs the critique of Grunbaum, which can in his view be deemed the involuntary artifice of a second, hotly debated admission of psychoanalysis into the world of science, considering that he had contributed to assigning it specific methods and objects of study (p. 10).

The author's epistemological approach to psychoanalysis is in the both prestigious and classical line that began with Rapaport, stressing as it does the importance of linking a theory of the mind with a general theory of knowledge.

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