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Chiarandini, I.C. (1996). Revista de Psicoanálisis. (Argentina) Special International Issue, 1993: Repetition.. Psychoanal Q., 65:851.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revista de Psicoanálisis. (Argentina) Special International Issue, 1993: Repetition.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 65:851

Revista de Psicoanálisis. (Argentina) Special International Issue, 1993: Repetition.

Irene Cairo Chiarandini

Every analytic listening is in itself an interpretation that organizes the original narration in a different form. The analytic text is being formed in its reception, a situation that involves risks. Two different approaches are at the extremes of the pluralistic world of current psychoanalysis: one includes time, emphasizing the analytic process as central to the analyst's interest; the other takes each session and the analytic attitude as the focus. The first lends itself more naturally to the exploration of repetition. In the latter the place where repetition can be detected is narrower.

Bion based his thinking on Freud's ideas of 1912 and 1914, when he discussed how analysts should allow themselves to be surprised by what is new, and that no effort should be made to bring back data or focus on the past. Eventually, the new will organize itself in the memory of a theme. Freud broke with himself in his approach to repetition in 1920, at which time an “excess,” a going beyond, contaminated the writing itself. To propose the death instinct was in itself a going beyond, postulating a repetition compulsion that accounts for a silent and omnipresent force that undermines clinical work. His later writings (“Constructions in Analysis” and Moses and Monotheism) show the effects of that force in his thinking. In the clinical approach it is possible to differentiate repetition that expresses the failure of forgetting from that which attempts to free itself from the memory that haunts it.

The authors believe that the work of the analyst is to organize what is insistently repeated, since repetition, no matter how fatiguing, is what facilitates interpretive work. But repetition itself may mask surprise and deform the listening. Two clinical vignettes illustrate the different roles of representation and memory and their relation to anxiety. Listening to clinical material is likened to listening to musical material such as Bach's Thema Regium (in his Musical Offering). The theme appears everywhere, insistently, but the charm is in the diversity of that insistence. In summary, working through takes account of both surprise and repetition.

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Article Citation

Chiarandini, I.C. (1996). Revista de Psicoanálisis.. Psychoanal. Q., 65:851

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