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Fiumara, G.C. (2001). A Letter from Italy. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 49(3):1095-1098.
   

(2001). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49(3):1095-1098

A Letter from Italy

Gemma Corradi Fiumara

I shall make an attempt to report on the ongoing conversations of Italian analysts, rather than trying to provide a presentation of our Society. I could not think of describing identifiable political and scientific developments, or of supplying statistics, names, and data. Immersed as I am in the psychoanalytic community, it is not easy to attain a sufficiently clear perspectival view. I shall thus try to share my understanding of the concerns, achievements, and hopes that emerge from the life of the psychoanalytic community, which is a very lively community indeed.

Gemma Corradi Fiumara

What would strike any visitor, in fact, and what challenges any Italian analyst, is the very great number of scientific events that are constantly being organized. An unprecedented number of national and international meetings is going on in the country, and often two or more interesting conferences are scheduled on the same date. The choice of what to attend and where to go seems a constant challenge for each one of us. At psychoanalytic institutes in Bologna, Florence, Genoa, Naples, Milan, Palermo, Rome, Turin, and Venice there are meetings nearly every evening: discussions of clinical cases; visiting analysts, some foreign; presentations of books; study groups focusing on such specific themes as, for instance, the psychoses, perversions, gender identity, food problems, neurosciences, and dreams.

Some colleagues think that such a very high frequency of meetings, conferences, and colloquia can be interpreted as a search for psychic comfort or a reinforcement of professional identity for analysts emerging from long days of involvement in a very peculiar sort of work. The intensity of shared scientific life, moreover, seems to dissipate the tendency to feel like permanent disciples of certain analysts who appear, or are made to appear, to possess some superior knowledge or skill. Especially among the younger colleagues, there is an inclination to be extremely sincere and specific about clinical experiences. This attitude is increasingly interwoven with a critical view of the ever successful starlike figures of psychoanalytic culture who are now often looked at with benign curiosity, rather than with old-fashioned admiration.

Perhaps

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