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Milton, J. (2002). Plenary Session: ‘The Link and the Other’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(3):682-684.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(3):682-684

Plenary Session: ‘The Link and the Other’

Reported by:
Jane Milton

Moderated by:
Robert Wallerstein

Following an introduction by the Chair, Robert Wallerstein, Isidoro Berenstein of Buenos Aires presented his paper as published (2001), with the addition of a short clinical vignette. Berenstein referred first to a solipsism in analytic theory. Most analysts, Berenstein thinks, regard the patient's transference as pre-determined in childhood, immutable and insensitive to new ‘inscriptions’ arising within current relationships. He went on to observe that most analysts apply traditional theories, but that occasionally an innovator like Melanie Klein, working with new sorts of patients (in her case children), is able to extend psychoanalytic concepts. Berenstein believes that his introduction of ‘couple and marital analysis’ has, in a similar way, revealed new clinical phenomena such that he is obliged to develop new conceptualisations.

Berenstein introduced a new term: ‘link’ (vinculo), an unconscious structure joining two or more persons. He added that, although other authors have used this word, his own use of the term is new. Berenstein's understanding appears to be that when analysts talk about person X's ‘internal object relationships’ manifest in a current relationship with person Y, they tend to be solipsistic, because they habitually fail to take into account the real, external presence of Y, differing as it does from X's preconceptions of Y, and hence they ignore Y's new effects on X. Berenstein stressed that we are profoundly influenced, from infancy onwards, both by the ‘imposition’ of unconscious stamps by others and by the stamp of our culture.

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