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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1992). Some Thoughts on the Psychoanalytic Situation. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 40:3-25.

(1992). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 40:3-25

Some Thoughts on the Psychoanalytic Situation

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel


This article develops ideas set out in a previous study on the "archaic matrix of the Oedipus complex" versus the fully developed Oedipus complex (their similarities and their differences), applying these to a study of the psychoanalytic situation. The central hypothesis is that there is a correspondence between the psychoanalytic situation and the structure of the mental apparatus.

The author supposes that our perception of the world is intimately linked to the primary maternal relationship, to our wish to fuse with the mother once more, and to the accompanying fear such a wish inspires. To deal with this we create enclaves where the regressive wish can be satisfied without fear of ego dissolution. The author suggests that the psychoanalytic situation is one such enclave. She examines its specific features in the light of the structure of the mental apparatus as she defines it.

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