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Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Stakes of Interpretation. Jean-Luc Donnet. Pp. 1135-1150.. Psychoanal Q., 58:324-325.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Stakes of Interpretation. Jean-Luc Donnet. Pp. 1135-1150.

(1989). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 58:324-325

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983: The Stakes of Interpretation. Jean-Luc Donnet. Pp. 1135-1150.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

Donnet attempts to articulate the much discussed opposition between construction and interpretation as set up by Freud in his article, "Constructions in Analysis." Freud distinguished interpretation and construction only by the amplitude of the psychic material that they sum up. Interpretation concerns a limited element which has been presented in the session; construction concerns a fragment, or an aspect of forgotten history, and is "proposed" to the patient to fill in lacunae of her or his past. After a very interesting and insightful set of comparisons and contrasts between the two modes of analytic intervention, Donnet raises the question of why Freud seems to have accorded preeminence to construction. Donnet's thesis is that there is a correlation between Freud's placing interpretation on the second level and

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his reservations with respect to repetition in action. Interpretations have some aspects of a symptomatic act. Interpretations, with their manifest brevity, have a tendency toward integrating a repetition in the transference, without producing or reproducing a splitting in the modes of psychic functioning. An interpretation leads to closure, and is in a sense conclusive, a condensation of insight leading often to silence. A construction, on the other hand, is the product of an "interpsychic" effort and is less unconscious. A construction is a metaphor of the entire treatment as a grand historical and instinctual construction, indefinite by definition. A construction is defined as explicitly exterior to the patient, and the question of its appropriateness is not in the foreground. The important thing is its history in the analytic process between the patient and the analyst as an associative generality, within a system of trial and error. A construction is addressed to the patient's ego, and its formulation—it is presented as hypothesis—implicitly recognizes the intersystemic and intrasystemic discontinuities that will have to be overcome. The construction is not concerned with acceptance or rejection by the patient. A construction is an attempt at forging an opening.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1989). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVII, 1983. Psychoanal. Q., 58:324-325

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