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Canestri, J. (1994). Transformations. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:1079-1092.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:1079-1092


Jorge Canestri


In this paper, through the microanalysis of a session of a very disturbed patient, the author attempts to underline the relevant importance of the formulation of the interpretation, which should not be split off from its content. He thinks that the psychoanalysis of these closing years of our century is characterised by a redefinition of the object of its study; that is, the particular intersubjective figure constituted by the analyst–patient relationship. In his view, the interpretation emerges from the analyst's capacity to contain and adequately transform the unbearable experiences of his patient's mental life reproposed in the analytic relationship. This internal transformative process of the analyst—Rosenfeld's 'function of putting experiences into words'—can be assisted linguistically. A careful analysis of the levels or channels of discourse, and an accurate study of certain linguistic notions, can prove to be of great assistance in formulating interpretations and in contributing to enhance their effectiveness. The author has tried to give examples of some of these ideas in the discussion of the clinical material, while keeping in mind that the activity of the analyst is very close to that of the artist.

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