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Arbiser, S. (2014). David Liberman's Legacy. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(4):719-738.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(4):719-738

History of Psychoanalysis

David Liberman's Legacy

Samuel Arbiser

This article presents, in the author's own vision, his attempt to consider (and update) the work of an original thinker of contemporary psychoanalysis (in the present). Following a short overview of his biographical data and distinctive traits as maestro and man, it then tries to capture the implications and panoramic vision of Liberman's work, the prevailing questions and problems of psychoanalysis to which it responds. In the author's opinion this involves a serious attempt to systematize clinical psychoanalysis on the basis of singularity and of tolerance to human diversity, with the greatest precision and scientific rigour admitted by the psychoanalytic discipline - avoiding cliché on the one hand and what we might call the mystification of the Oracle on the other.

The successive stages of Liberman's production are indicated in terms of the auxiliary disciplines (communication theory, semiotics and linguistics) which he used for his ever more precise systematization of clinical psychoanalysis finally leading to his proposals on ‘style’ and his vision of the psychopathology of over-adaptation and psychosomatic instances. Other concepts which this paper highlights are: Liberman's conception of analytic dialogue as framed by human interaction; his theorization which stems from this particular empirical base making use of ‘operational definitions’ and ‘intermediary formulations’; his operational definition of transference; and the inclusion of setting inside the ‘analytic situation’.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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