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Fink, K. (1999). ‘The Piggle’. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(6):1241.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(6):1241

‘The Piggle’

Klaus Fink

Dear Sir,

I read this interesting paper by Marilyn Charles (Int. J. Psychoanal., 1999, 80: 783-95) and could not refrain from commenting on the author's ingenuity at applying bi-logic to a clinical paper of old that surely has been reviewed and quoted innumerable times. But also Marilyn Charles uses Matte-Blanco's conceptualisations to understand and most of all to clarify her own clinical case Michael, presented in her paper. Apart from my own published papers, this is for me the first time that I see a straightforward clinical paper in which Matte-Blanco is used to understand psychological mechanisms at work. The author uses the concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to explain what she sees as happening in the exchanges between Winnicott and his patient and also between herself and her patient. A certain amount of work has been published about bi-logic but it mostly consists in theoretical lucubrations about it. The clinical use of bi-logic in understanding of what goes on in a session, the interplay of transference and countertransference, of projection, introjection, projective identification, splitting, repression and so on has been scarce. And yet, these psychic mechanisms can be made very clear by the use of Matte-Blanco's concepts and it is precisely this which Marilyn Charles stresses in her paper on page 789. There she talks about her patient Michael, whom she helps to ‘desymmetrise’ his way of thinking about his own child and himself. What I hope will not be overlooked, and that is my reason for writing this comment, is what Marilyn Charles says at the bottom of page 792. Here she stresses the use she has made of Matte-Blanco's terminology to make sense of what goes on in her patient's mind. I agree entirely with her when she says that bi-logic is not a new psychoanalytical theory but a more succinct and clear way of formulating and understanding psychic mechanisms, whether they are formulated in Freudian, Kleinian, Middle, ego-psychological or any other theoretical form.

August

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