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Ungar, V. (2015). The Toolbox of the Analyst's Trade: Interpretation Revisited. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 96(3):595-610.

(2015). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 96(3):595-610

The Toolbox of the Analyst's Trade: Interpretation Revisited Related Papers Language Translation

Virginia Ungar


The invitation to reflect upon the form and the use of the tools of psychoanalysis in our time (to reflect, in fact, upon the psychoanalyst's profession) is a challenge that may be summed up by the following question: which are the tools that we, as psychoanalysts, use? What is our ‘tool box’ composed of? Furthermore, this question - such as we are formulating it today - enables us to go one step further and to test out a counterpoint between the mode of thinking of that toolbox in the present day and over 100 years ago.

Of course, this counterpoint is not merely intended to be an exercise in historical comparison. Rather, it takes as its starting point a historical ascertainment: the procedural tools of psychoanalysis, as with any human construction, are conditioned and affected by the hegemonic codes of each epoch. And in this respect, when we think and rethink our tools as psychoanalysts, it proves necessary to question both the epochal variation of which we are part, and its consequences.

Freudian theory was one of the most revolutionary events for early 20th century culture. More than 100 years after its early formulation and against the backdrop of a series of vertiginous changes in the social institutions along with powerful technological developments with high impact on subjectivity, a re-examination of these variations and their effects upon the analyst's task seems less a minor sociological concern and more a necessary condition for the practice of the profession.

[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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