The Italian Connection Part 1

5 ..17

Lacanou Océan, 14th August 2005

(1) The original title of the debate is Dibattito tra Ettore Perrella e Antonello Sciacchitano su psicoanalisi e psicoterapia: un appassionato ‘litigio’ tra due analisti lacaniani. The Italian text may be read at
(3) Section for contributions in English

Introduction to Original Text Published on
by Paolo Migone (1)

In the spirit that is common to all other contributions published in the ‘Psychotherapies’ section of POL-it, which is characterised by a critical debate about different positions or approaches in psychotherapy, we are publishing a heated debate between two lacanians: Ettore Perrella and Antonello Sciacchitano. This occurred by email in the summer 1997 and concerned fundamental issues regarding the identity of psychoanalysis, its theoretical and judicial legitimation and its supposed difference from psychotherapy. In this way, we enter directly into the universe of lacanian thinking, an important theoretical point of reference within the psychoanalytic debate. Once again, we enter into this approach not through an exposition of the ideas of the founder of this school (in this case the ideas of Lacan, or aspects of his thinking). Instead, we do so by showing the agreement and disagreement about singular aspects as seen by two authors, this time from within the same tradition.
Beside Perrella and Sciacchitano, we thank the journal of lacanian orientation Scibbolet for giving us permission to publish this material. The material was published in this journal in 1997 (vol. IV, n. 4, pp. 166-194) with the title ‘Una lettera per l’altra’ (2) and in the journal Arché/Ipotesi.
The initial stimulus for this exchange was provided by an open letter sent by Ettore Perrella to the supporters of Spaziozero – Movimento per una Psicoanalisi Laica. This movement (formed on 22nd May 1995, after a conference in Padua entitled ‘Psychoanalysis and the Italian law regarding psychotherapy’) publishes about ten journals. Its aim is to promote a movement that is critical of those aspects of law 56/1989, which concern the regulation of psychotherapy. Schiacchitano replies to the open letter with a critical tone and, in turn, Perrella reacts. It is so that this exchange begins (including the open letter from Perrella, there are in total 12 emails).
Finally, we have gladly published also a reply from Franco Baldini, director of the journal Thélema. This addresses some of the passages in two letters from Sciacchitano, respectively dated 29th July and 22nd September 1997. In this, it is argued that Sciacchitano has failed to correctly interpret Baldini’s thought. Further, in one of the two letters (the one dated 22nd September) a suggestion is made regarding the supposed personal advantages that hide behind theoretical positions. Although some of the tones of this correspondence might be justifiable in view of the emotive nature of the debate, we consider the suggestion made by Sciacchitano most improper and apologise to Baldini, as well as to the readers, for this lowering of tone. Nevertheless, we have decided not to edit the original text and to publish Baldini’s reply, which we received in December 1998.