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Bacciagaluppi, M. (1999). Evolutionary Aspects of Silvano Arieti's Work. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 27(4):575-581.

(1999). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 27(4):575-581

Evolutionary Aspects of Silvano Arieti's Work

Marco Bacciagaluppi, M.D.

I would like to say a few personal words before beginning this article. I was a pupil of Arieti's in New York in 1963-1964, and then, for several years, together with my wife, I translated most of his books into Italian, in close cooperation with the author. Arieti was eager for his writings to be known in his country of origin.

I met Arieti through Pier Francesco Galli and the “Milanese Group for the Development of Psychotherapy,” which Galli had founded and directed. At the beginning of the 1960s, this group introduced the psychotherapy of psychoses into Italy through the translation of books and the personal presence of Benedetti and Arieti—two leaders in this area who originated from Italy. I would like Dr. Galli's merits to be acknowledged in this meeting. He made an essential cultural contribution, which initially—with some exceptions—was met with hostility by Italian psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Also thanks to his initiative, the cultural climate has changed since then. The presence at this meeting not only of representatives of psychiatry and of the traditional psychoanalytic schools, but also of OPIFER, a group of independent analysts that follow the model of Arieti's American Academy, is a testimony to this change. By inviting these various groups, the organizers of the meeting have recognized this change in cultural climate.


In the commemoration of Silvano Arieti written by my wife and myself, published in 1981 in Psicoterapia e Scienze Umane (Bacciagaluppi and Bacciagaluppi Mazza, 1981), we wrote: One of the aspects of Arieti's work which most deserve to be developed is possibly the evolutionary approach. All his work is firmly rooted in evolutionary theory. As regards cognitive mechanisms, for instance, he suggests that the ontogenetic development from image to paleosymbol to symbol also reflects a phylo-genetic evolution (Bacciagaluppi and Bacciagaluppi Mazza, 1981, p. 171).

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