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Bolognini, S. Andreatta, G.P. (1999). A Letter from Italy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 47(2):627-630.

(1999). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 47(2):627-630

A Letter from Italy

Stefano Bolognini and Giana Petronio Andreatta

The history of the Società Psicoanalitica Italiana (SPI) and its relationship with North American psychoanalysis may be of interest to readers of JAPA.

Giana Petronio Andreatta and Stefano Bolognini

The first fifty years. An organic psychiatry inspired by Lombroso and Kraepelin, a philosophical idealism opposed to the positivism prevailing in medicine, and a Catholic Church alarmed by Freudian pansexualism and materialism were all instrumental in hindering the spread of psychoanalytic theory across the Alps and into Italy. Its development was delayed further by World War I.

Not until 1925 was it really possible to speak of Italian psychoanalysis. In that year Marco Levi Bianchini, director of the psychiatric hospital in Teramo, founded the first Italian Psychoanalytic Society, with the stated aim of deepening and propagating the theoretical study and clinical practice of psychoanalysis. In the same year another crucial event occurred. Indeed, it could be argued that Italian psychoanalysis dates from the day Edoardo Weiss, a physician from Trieste who had become a psychoanalyst in Vienna with Paul Federn, presented a report on psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the second congress of the Phrenology Society.

In 1932 SPI was reorganized by Weiss and moved to Rome; Levi Bianchini became its honorary president. In Milan, Cesare Musatti joined, later to become president from 1951 to 1955, and again from 1959 to 1963. In Palermo, Alessandra Tomasi Wolff Stomersee, Princess of Lampedusa, became a member and held the position of president from 1955 to 1959.

SPI started training new analysts in 1933, and in 1936 was granted membership in the IPA, following checks on its standards regarding scientific principles and training methods.

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