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Sodré, I. (2005). ‘As I was walking down the stair, I saw a concept which wasn't there …’: Or, après-coup: A missing concept?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):7-10.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):7-10

‘As I was walking down the stair, I saw a concept which wasn't there …’: Or, après-coup: A missing concept? Related Papers Language Translation

Ignês Sodré

As I was walking down the stair,

I saw a man who wasn't there.

He wasn't there again today …

I wish that man would go away!

Guarding against the influence of a Mrs Bennett kind of logic (in which ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife’) in my conception of what an ideal psychoanalytical marriage should be, I need to keep in mind the strange but undoubtedly true fact that a lot of analysts live happily ever after, being excellent analysts, without ever needing to have recourse to the concept of projective identification. A similar question must be in the minds of colleagues for whom the concept of après-coup is both fundamental in their theoretical thinking and of everyday clinical use. I never find myself missing the concept of après-coup … and yet, of course, once I set my mind to it and read the paper I am now discussing, as well as several other excellent papers by Haydée Faimberg touching on this subject and some of the rest of the literature, après-coup starts popping up in my mind at entirely unexpected and surprising places. If you had a look at my computer files today, you would see that ‘the concept which wasn't there’ has, totally behind my back, managed to infiltrate the two papers I am currently working on …

Faimberg's contributions to the study of après-coup are very important and, for me, especially interesting in the area of what she calls ‘listening to listening’ (1996), by which she means a very close reading of her patient's response to each interpretation; in the misunderstandings which always occur between what was said and what was heard, she listens very closely to the unconscious identifications with internal objects, which lead to (re)constructions.

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