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Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Fran├žaise De Psychanalyse. XLIX, 1985: The Two Ways of Innovation in Psychoanalysis. Jean Guillaumin. Pp. 569-576.. Psychoanal Q., 61:150-151.

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Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIX, 1985: The Two Ways of Innovation in Psychoanalysis. Jean Guillaumin. Pp. 569-576.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:150-151

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIX, 1985: The Two Ways of Innovation in Psychoanalysis. Jean Guillaumin. Pp. 569-576.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

Guillaumin sketches two positions that can characterize analysts' attitudes toward change in psychoanalysis. One position is that psychoanalysis changes when concepts, techniques, or viewpoints are added—in the name of one's school, or in one's own name—to what has been acquired from our predecessors. This way is very attractive for those of dynamic spirit, eager to affirm themselves in some original manner and to respond quickly to the changing world itself. Freud's work, in this view, needed completion, by the findings of Klein, Lacan, Winnicott, Bion, Searles, Kohut, and others. This way of innovation is repudiated by those who feel that the essentials of psychoanalysis have already been gathered. To this conservative viewpoint, the opening of these new doors is merely illusory. Its exponents refuse to see psychoanalysis defined asymptotically by the cumulative ensemble of new ideas successively proposed by reformers from the past or by those to come. But this conservative position, too, has its problems, for the risk is the failure to do anything but repeat, a refusal to understand anything new, and a sacred ritualization of words and behaviors as sufficient indication of the presence of true analysis.

Guillaumin believes that there must be a place for discovery, for the encounter with the unexpected. A third way must be found between the perpetual resystematization of psychoanalysis by new would-be founders, and its encrustation as fixed once and forever; between superficial innovation and sterile repetition. The goal is to avoid the illusion of progress through mere successive acquisitions, without renouncing the work of discovery through analytic progress in new contexts. This way leads from the interior to the exterior. We must ask what, in the kernel of psychoanalysis, has not yet been sufficiently mobilized. Innovation, in this sense, could mean looking insistently into the interior of the psychoanalytic attitude. The new situations would organize themselves by the deepening understanding of the internal principles of psychoanalysis, and not through the enlargement or extension of the psychoanalytic field. Guillaumin calls this a "thickening" of the internal principles of psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis would then be understood as a discovery, but one which, by its very nature, goes beyond the genius of the discoverer, however great. Psychoanalysis is a formidable epistemological turning inside out, of which


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Freud was the privileged artisan as its pioneer cartographer, who set up the organizing landmarks and wrote the unique journal of the first voyage into an unknown world. But this world was discovered, not created, by Freud.


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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1992). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLIX, 1985. Psychoanal. Q., 61:150-151

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WARNING! This text is printed for the personal use of the subscriber to PEP Web and is copyright to the Journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to copy, distribute or circulate it in any form whatsoever.