The Italian Connection Part 1

3 ..17

If I remember correctly, there was even an Adlerian, who also seemed perfectly at ease. So, to begin with, it seemed as if a miracle was occurring. Analysts of different orientations were discussing the same topic – psychoanalysis – which, as if by magic, had gone back to be lay, and, therefore, also, ‘one’. Further, the first meetings, which were organised in the offices of various members and in different towns, became occasions for Sunday trips that entailed collective journeys by car and pantagruelic restaurant meals. No particular qualification was required to be accepted, nor there was a hierarchy between members. So, it happened to also hear someone spill out his opinion just as it came into his head, which, on the way back, gave the sharper ones an opportunity to laugh about the most sensational slips and acrobatic debate they had heard. In those days, I was a young practitioner, and, beyond learning that wise self-irony from older members, I was also nourished by their experience, from which, evidently, I had much to learn. Would I ever be able to speak with such eloquence? Would I ever receive patients in such elegant offices?
But, perhaps with the complicity of winter, these Sunday trips began to be less and less enjoyable, and, soon, it became also less and less necessary to find large restaurants. Before Perrella’s ‘open letter’, which sought to initiate a dialogue, there had been other attempts at cheering up people’s hearts. However, all of them had failed. What was happening? Why all those prestigious personalities, who had at first become involved, seemed so tired and absent? At the time, I wondered about this every day, perhaps because I was the youngest and I had been appointed Secretary of the Movement – a position of which, then, I was very proud. Later on, however, I understood that the melancholic turn was nothing other than what had already occurred some years before. At that time, too, Italian psychoanalysts had not been able, and had not wanted, to express a common position to Parliament, and, instead, had allowed themselves, first, to show contradictory behaviour, and, then, to plunge into a complete inhibition.
Clearly, no one wanted to abolish Law 56, as no one was so foolish as to think that psychology and psychotherapy, the presence of which was already well established in Public Health, could go on being unregulated. Nevertheless, everyone was aware of the tremendous legal tangle entailed by it – and particularly by article 3, the article concerning the practice of psychotherapy – which could only be resolved by acknowledging that this Law did concern psychoanalysis. But did anyone have a serious idea to submit to public debate? Did anyone have not so much a ‘solution’, as a real will to search for one? Most unfortunately, I must say that the answer is ‘no’, and of this I am absolutely certain, since, in my position as secretary, I attended all the meetings, formalised the agenda, and circulated the minutes as well as other group correspondence. Consequently, my initial admiration was followed, first, by rage, and, then, by pity, towards those whom I had considered my masters. Many of them, in fact, at best, proved to be self-conceited ‘provincial’ teachers, as weak as reeds in the wind. The meetings were literally corrupted by real rambling speeches. I say ‘real’, because sometimes it would be those very ‘sons of Dora’ to deliver them, in French or in German, as if the translation into a different linguistic code could alchemically guarantee some sense. In the end, there was nothing left but unpleasant words, in the midst of which some members gripped on tightly to the old, dear transference and fell in love with one another.