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Ambrosiano, L. (2004). Il lavoro clinico. Nuovi seminari di São Paulo e Riberão Preto [Clinical work. New São Paulo and Riberão Preto seminars] By Antonino Ferro Milan: Cortina. 2003. 127 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(4):1036-1038.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(4):1036-1038

Il lavoro clinico. Nuovi seminari di São Paulo e Riberão Preto [Clinical work. New São Paulo and Riberão Preto seminars] By Antonino Ferro Milan: Cortina. 2003. 127 pp.

Review by:
Laura Ambrosiano

Since the 1990s, Antonino Ferro has been developing a complex and coherent theoretical-technical model that indicates the shift specific to Italian psychoanalysis away from focusing pre-eminently on the representative to full recognition of the communicative value of the figurative register. This recognition has allowed the more silent, not yet symbolisable, inner dimensions of patients to be brought closer and has opened up prospects for the psychoanalytic treatment of psychoses.

The book collects together two thematic seminars and seven clinical seminars held by Ferro in 2000 in Brazil. Marta Petricciani's beautiful translation into Italian also leads the reader with great vivacity into the debates following the seminars.

The book is faithful to the author's preface in which he declares his loyalty to the orthodox, Freudian method, which, as Bion noted, widens the field to be explored, and his freedom to provide the patient with ‘heterodox’ answers. Ferro justifies this heterodoxy with his reflections on the risk that psychoanalysts run in using Freud's authority as a barrier to the search for knowledge. The risk of using our discipline like a religion is the other side of the question posed by Bion: who knows if we will be able to study the ‘living mind’.

All theories, as the author points out (p. 10), tend to ‘become wooden’, to crystallise until they become dogmas, with the inevitable consequence of peopling the clinical and organisational practice with priests of orthodoxy.

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