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Rotmann, M. (2002). The alienness of the unconscious: On Laplanche's theory of seduction. J. Anal. Psychol., 47(2):265-278.

(2002). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 47(2):265-278

The alienness of the unconscious: On Laplanche's theory of seduction

Michael Rotmann, M.D.

In this paper the author uses a clinical example as a focus for an exploration of his thesis that the parent is the ‘other’ who implants his or her unconscious message into the child by means of seduction. As the other is alien, the unconscious of the child cannot any longer be considered the centre of the person but is decentred by the implanted alienness. The author draws on Laplanche's seduction theory to argue that the unconscious message of seduction by the other is exclusively sexual and that it cannot be translated nor symbolized because an interpretative system shared by subject and object is lacking.

The decentred alterity of the unconscious allows for comparison with a third object and hence a structural triangulation of the mind which is a prerequisite for symbolization. The role of the analyst in permitting a transference enactment and so facilitating the beginning of sexual symbolization is discussed in relation to the clinical example given at the start of the paper.

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