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de M’Uzan, M. (2019). Interpreting: for whom, and why?. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 100(4):736-743.

(2019). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 100(4):736-743

Interpreting: for whom, and why?

Michel de M’Uzan

It is conceivable that interpretation in psychoanalysis forms part of a vast hermeneutic question. Reflections based on this position are undeniably enriching for psychoanalysis in general. My statement, however, is more limited, for what I am essentially concerned with here is the analyst’s interpretive activity in the analytic situation. Now while the communications delivered in colloquiums or congresses are often brilliant, and even if they are a source of pleasure, they do not always contribute anything tangible to practice itself. I have thus been led to wonder, with myself primarily in mind and not without a certain irony, if our exchanges in these diverse circumstances are not comparable to the intellectual operations required by the game of chess, which are only useful for the game of chess and strictly for nothing else. If that is the case, then our activity in our colloquiums simply ensures that our exchanges of ideas in the following colloquiums will be of better quality. Of course, I am not putting forward this hypothesis without reservations, but it seems to me that if we consider the concrete conditions of interpretation in analytic treatments, we are justified in giving it some attention. Indeed there exists a sort of tension that is no doubt fruitful between, on the one hand, the innovations, theoretical audacity and technical boldness legitimated in part by the cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs during our meetings and, on the other, ordinary practice whose foundations are assured.

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