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Levy, R. (2017). Intimacy: The Drama and Beauty of Encountering the other. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 98(3):877-894.

(2017). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 98(3):877-894

Intimacy: The Drama and Beauty of Encountering the other

Ruggero Levy

(Accepted for publication 5 May 2017)

Though all our knowledge begins with experience, it does not follow that it all arises out of experience.

(Kant, 1787)


I appreciate the invitation to this privileged place of expression to talk about a theme that is highly relevant to psychoanalysis - intimacy. The IPA and its Programme Committee could not have chosen a more appropriate theme, given its centrality to human life, culture, and psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, I will focus on the psychoanalytical meaning of the experience of intimacy, its metapsychology, on clinical aspects and defences against it, and will only touch upon - but not ignore - the cultural issue.

My psychoanalytical thinking is strongly grounded in Freud, Klein, Bion, Meltzer, and Winnicott, and I owe a deep debt of gratitude to contemporary authors like Ferro, Ogden, Civitarese, Barros and Barros, Hartke, Aisenstein, Cassorla, Levine, and Ithier, who have profoundly impacted my way of working and theorizing about psychoanalysis. These figures, no doubt, underlie the ideas that I will express here, even in instances where they are not explicitly cited. I would also like to sincerely thank my patients and analysts, with whom I have truly learned what psychoanalysis is.

Studying and writing about intimacy in psychoanalysis restores us to what is perhaps the essence of humanity - given that from the moment we leave the womb, which is the utmost experience of inhabiting and sharing another's body, we, in fact, never stop seeking the reassuring warmth of an intimate relationship with another human being, a path so beautifully described by Eizirik (2016).

[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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