Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To sort articles by year…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

After you perform a search, you can sort the articles by Year. This will rearrange the results of your search chronologically, displaying the earliest published articles first. This feature is useful to trace the development of a specific psychoanalytic concept through time.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Perelberg, R.J. (2012). The Analyzing Situation by Jean-Luc Donnet (Andrew Weller, translator) Karnac, London, 2009, Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series; 199 pp; £22.99. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 93(1):239-245.

(2012). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 93(1):239-245

Book Reviews

The Analyzing Situation by Jean-Luc Donnet (Andrew Weller, translator) Karnac, London, 2009, Psychoanalytic Ideas and Applications Series; 199 pp; £22.99

Review by:
Rosine Jozef Perelberg

This book makes the work of one of the most inspiring contemporary French psychoanalysts accessible to the Anglo-Saxon readership. It revisits and expands some of the themes explored in his previous publications. In this review I can only address some of them.


The first chapter of the book constituted one of the three previously published texts which were introduced at the 2001 IPA Congress in Nice on the theme ‘Psychoanalysis, Method and Applications’. In this seminal and much-celebrated article, Donnet points out the inherent contradiction between the use that psychoanalysts make of the notion of method, linked to the specificity of unconscious psychic processes, on the one hand, and the requirement that analysts from different traditions have of applicable prescriptions. This is discussed later in the book in terms of his distinction between the analytic method and psychoanalytic techniques, and the tension between subjectivity and objectivity.

A fundamental paradox persists in psychoanalysis:

Any attempt to define the analytic method is faced with the contrast between what the term method suggests in the way of controlled organization, and the renunciation of control implied by free association. This paradox is necessary if the unconscious was to open to rational investigation.

(p. 21)

This leads Donnet to indicate the contradiction between the necessary, acquired knowledge on the one hand, and the need to suspend knowledge on the other. Concepts of ‘learned ignorance’ (Lacan) and negative capacity (Bion) are evoked (Chapter 2), as well as Winnicott's distinction between game and play, i.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.