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Chetrit-Vatine, V. (2004). Primal seduction, matricial space and asymmetry in the psychoanalytic encounter. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):841-856.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):841-856

Primal seduction, matricial space and asymmetry in the psychoanalytic encounter

Viviane Chetrit-Vatine

Wishing to highlight the asymmetric dimension that characterizes ethics as ‘responsibility toward the other’ in Levinas's philosophy, the author presents as an introduction three related concepts of Levinas's thinking: the caress, the face, the saying. Following some poetic narrative reflections offered as ‘interlude’ moments, the author seeks to bring together her concept of ‘matricial space’ inspired by Levinas's conception of ethics and the Laplanchian concept of ‘primal seduction’, both based on asymmetry. She suggests adding to Laplanche's proposition of two kinds of transference (filled-in transference and hollowed-out transference) a third kind: the matricial-space transference. She argues that together with the hollowed-out transference, which is related to the primal seduction, the matricial-space transference, which relates to the matricial position in the parent/analyst, is provoked by the analyst. If the hollowed-out transference assures the moving-on of the analysis, the matricial-space transference, in combination with the hollowed-out transference, is prerequisite for transformation to occur and may be deciphered specifically in ‘impasse’situations, at what she coined ‘subjectal moments’. As a conclusion, while insisting on the need for asymmetry in the analytic encounter, she suggests the existence in the human neonate of a need for ethics, and she questions the origin of the human capacity to be responsible toward the other. She illustrates her argument using clinical material from her own work alongside that of other authors.

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