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Zilkha, N. (2005). L'imprévu en séance [The unforeseen in sessions] by Jacques André Paris: Gallimard. 2004. 186 p.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(1):222-226.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(1):222-226

L'imprévu en séance [The unforeseen in sessions] by Jacques André Paris: Gallimard. 2004. 186 p.

Review by:
Nathalie Zilkha

From its opening sentences, this work by Jacques André, a member of the Association Psychanalytique de France, plunges us into the intimacy and the deep complexity of the analytic session. André's language is precise and his style is beautifully fluent and lucid. In a way that seems to reflect the author's philosophical background, this style invites us to make a close study of the ‘reverie’ or evenly suspended attention to what is manifesting itself in the session. The author distils its essence and gives us a sense of the form that it takes, which stimulates associations to our own clinical practice. Whether subtly or forcefully, an unexpected word or phrase or even a theoretical discussion sometimes sharpens our attention and modifies our listening.

André's thought is complex and arborescent. Each of the book's 26 short chapters, with promising titles, elaborates a fundamental concept or impulse of the psychoanalytic treatment. From an individual perspective that is deeply rooted in the Freudian tradition, he shares his rich experience with us. He explores, for instance, the moments in the treatment in which primitive forms of psychic life are generated without hesitating to examine what should be obvious but fails to occur. However, his perspective resists any temptation to deny the unconscious, the drive, psychic conflict or the father. For me this constitutes one of the salient and original aspects of his work in general, which is reflected in this collection.

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