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Tip: To review the bibliography…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Lingiardi, V. Bei, F.D. (2011). Questioning the Couch: Historical and Clinical Perspectives. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(3):389-404.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(3):389-404

Questioning the Couch: Historical and Clinical Perspectives

Vittorio Lingiardi, M.D. and Francesco De Bei, Ph.D.

Since the beginning of the last century, when Freud introduced the couch in the psychoanalytic room, a number of “objects” have been removed or renovated, yet the couch has almost always remained in place, at least officially. This article has two distinct aims. The first is to offer a reconstruction of the psychoanalytic history of this element of the setting. The second is to rethink the couch, saving it from being reduced to a mere icon. Recent contributions coming from affective neurosciences, infant research, and psychotherapy research seem to question the utility of this element and the nature of the very mechanisms of its therapeutic action. The authors wonder whether the use of the couch is primarily protective for the therapist rather than necessarily helpful for all patients. Taking into account these observations implies bringing the couch out from a silent dimension and reflecting on its role in the conception of therapeutic action and mental functioning.

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