The Italian Connection Part 1

The Italian Connection Part 1

Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy: Forming or Conforming?
A Passionate Debate Between Two Italian Lacanian Analysts (1)

Translated by Simona Revelli

Note by Translator

All footnotes in the following text are by the translator. I would like to thank Ettore Perrella, Antonello Sciacchitano, Franco Baldini, Paolo Migone and Francesco Bollorino, editor of Psychiatry On Line – Italia ( (2), for their responsiveness and for giving their permission to publish my translation of the following debate. I would like to thank also Darian Leader, Ian Parker, Kirsty Hall and Anne Worthington for their help and feedback. A very special thank to Mauro Santacatterina, who consistently supported this project in a multitude of ways. Finally, I would like to thank the College and (3) for making this material available through their websites. I hope the reader will find it as interesting and stimulating as I have done.

Introduction To English Translation
by Mauro Santacatterina

The government of the United Kingdom is considering the possibility of extending to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis the provisions of existing legislation which regulates health professionals. As it happened in 1989 to their Italian colleagues and in 2004 to their French ones, English psychoanalysts are summoned to declare if this concerns them. It is evident that such declaration must necessarily be positive, but this does not mean at all that it may be taken for granted. As things stand, both a ‘yes’ and a possible ‘no’ – apparently heroic and, therefore, verisimilar – are derived from the resolution of an impossible equation, that which contains the terms ‘psychotherapy’ and ‘psychoanalysis’. Both these terms, in fact, are in themselves almost inadmissible, at least, for as long as one insists to measure either one of them in its dependence from the other. Since memorable time, Mathematics has made use of equations of multiple variables, as well as parametric ones. Nonetheless, many European psychoanalysts still become very excited if someone – for example, the State – decides a value in their place, and, tearing their hair, go as far as to predict that psychoanalysis will soon die. Luckily, Freud’s invention will certainly not come to an end because this or that law establishes who (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist) may cure others, without running the risk of imprisonment or starvation. What new adjustments – for sure, only short-lived – may Die Frage der Laienanalyse find? After all, this has been almost unchanged since 1926. It is easy to foresee that, for a long time yet, the qualification of ‘psychoanalyst’ will continue to re-present itself as a boulder in all Western languages, a boulder as heavy as the problems connected with the concept of ‘intellectual profession’. For psychoanalysis, all this will correspond to a kind of waiting for its epistemological status to find a convincing definition beyond the current one – apophatic, and, therefore, frail – as science sui generis. With respect to Grümbaun, for example, it is evident that his results cannot be verified through Popper’s procedure without being seriously misunderstood.