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Scariati, G. (2009). Alienating Identifications and the Psychoanalytic Process. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(5):1025-1038.

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(5):1025-1038

Alienating Identifications and the Psychoanalytic Process Language Translation

Giuseppe Scariati

(Final version accepted 2 April 2009)

The transmission of psychic life from one generation to the next can result in unconscious, alienating identifications when the parents have not been able to elaborate a process of mourning for their own childhoods. In this article, the author describes the nature of these identifications, constructed around insufficiently symbolized experiences, as revealed during the psychoanalytic process. These unconscious, alienating identifications raise some arduous technical problems for the psychoanalyst as they lead the patient to carry out complex enactments that erase the normal transference markers. The psychoanalyst may then be tempted to resort to pejorative theoretical concepts, such as the death drive. And yet, unknown to the analysand, the insufficiently symbolized psychic elements contain a potential for transformation that may lead to reconstructions and dis-alienating interpretations. The author distinguishes between alienating identifications and fantasies of identification when the latter transiently appear during the psychoanalytic process. These identification fantasies symbolically register the emotional experience undergone during the analytic sessions and contribute to the integration of insufficiently symbolized psychic elements. These theoretical considerations are fully illustrated by the clinical report of some analytic sessions.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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