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Rinaldi, L. (1990). Historical Truth and Psychoanalysis. Rivista Psicoanal., 36(3):560-604.

(1990). Rivista di Psicoanalisi, 36(3):560-604

Historical Truth and Psychoanalysis Language Translation

Luigi Rinaldi

“Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ'd”

(William Blake, Proverbs of Hell).

1. The question of the criterion (or criteria) of truth is wholly bound up with the problem of knowledge, and psychoanalysts are unanimous in considering analysis primarily a cognitive practice, whose special status is due to its transformative and possibly therapeutic effects. Indeed the founder of psychoanalysis assigned the highest value to truth and made it the foundation of his practice: “The analytic relationship is based on a love of truth — that is, on a recognition of reality — and that it precludes any kind of sham or deceit” (Freud 1937a, 248). And in Transformations Bion wrote: “Healthy mental growth seems to depend on truth as the living organism depends on food. If it is lacking or deficient the personality deteriorates” (1963, 38).

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