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Zwiebel, R. (2020). Response to the letter of Dr Sapisochin. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(4):811-812.

(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(4):811-812

Response to the letter of Dr Sapisochin

Ralf Zwiebel

Dr Sapisochin’s response to my commentary and that of Dr Steiner to his paper “Enactment: Listening to psychic gestures” demonstrates the importance of a continuing dialogue in psychoanalysis. Here I can only respond to his remarks concerning my own commentary.

First, when Dr Sapisochin picks up my reflections about the necessity of translating published papers into the language of the reader and associates “traduttore” with “traditore” – translator with traitor – I feel uncomfortable. I would prefer to say that we are always struggling within the tension of understanding and misunderstanding in everyday life, in science and in psychoanalysis. Perhaps one main reason for misunderstanding is our reluctance “to abandon one’s own conceptual boundaries”, as Dr Sapisochin writes, and to be open to really new concepts. Our dialogue shows, in my view, both the possibilities and the limits of overcoming these obstacles.

Second, I regret now that I spoke of “German psychoanalysis”. My conscious intention was of course quite different and far from any form of “nationalism”. Quite the contrary: I believe that many publishing psychoanalysts in Germany experience obstacles to publish in English, French and Spanish. One reason is probably that the older generations have more difficulty in reading, speaking and writing in a foreign language; younger psychoanalysts will not have these problems now and in the future.

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