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Le Guen, C. (1982). The Trauma of Interpretation as History Repeating itself. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 63:321-330.

(1982). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 63:321-330

The Trauma of Interpretation as History Repeating itself

Claude Le Guen


Using the more specific case of the traumatic effect of 'right' interpretations, this work aims to elucidate the process of anaclisis/deferred action (previously described by the author) considered as a dialectic pair of opposites and recognized as being the basis of all psychic functioning. The up-dating and enriching of these forgotten or neglected Freudian concepts allows us to go beyond the antinomies of continuity and discontinuity, of structure and history, of reproduction and repetition.

We can see in a clinical example (the sole role of which is to illustrate the demonstration and not to be studied in itself) that an interpretation which 'hits home' reproduces without the analyst knowing it the very terms of a traumatism which occurred when the patient was 4 years old (which trauma actualized at the time an 'indifferent' scene which took place at 18 months) by resituating it among present preoccupations. Restricted by the specificity of the analytic process, in the period following the interpretive trauma the patient can but reproduce the original traumatism it was based on and finally appropriate and go beyond it.

Although it brings about a change, the traumatic effect of the interpretation cannot help but surprise the analyst as well as the patient, thus bearing witness to their involvement in the same story. The traumatism then appears as an indication of the articulation between the processes of anaclisis and deferred action and at the same time as contributing to that articulation. This must necessarily have consequences for interpretive technique.

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