Last updated: 4, Nov., 2009 

     THALASSA. Portolano of Psychoanalysis



NEWS 2008

NEWS 2009





"J'ai la honte" de Abram Coen


"Remémoration, traumatisme et mémoire collective - Le combat pour la emémoration en psychanalyse"  de W. Bohleber



"De quoi témoignent les mains des survivants? De l'anéantissement des vivants, de l'affirmation de la vie" de Janine Altounian

"Les cachés de la folie" de J.-P. Verot  

  "La difficoltà di dire io. L'esperienza del diario nel conflitto inter-jugoslavo di fine Novecento" di Nicole Janigro (source: "Frenis Zero" revue)


  "I Balcani" di Predrag Matvejevic (source:  "Frenis Zero" revue)

  "La Shoah e la distruttività umana" di A. A. Semi (source:   A.S.S.E.Psi. web site)

"Breve Storia della Psicoanalisi in Italia" di Cotardo Calligaris (source: A.S.S.E.Psi. web site)

"The Meaning of Medication in Psychoanalysis" by Salomon Resnik (source: A.S.S.E.Psi. web site)

"Note sulla storia italiana dell'analisi laica" di Giancarlo Gramaglia (source: "Frenis Zero" revue )

"Adriatico" di Predrag Matvejevic

"Mon Adriatique" de Predrag Matvejevic




Balkans        *Serbia (History of Psychoanalysis in)
Eastern Europe
• EU
• Italy
Turkey, Armenia and Caucasian Rep.
Tatiana Rosenthal and Russian Psychoanalysis

 History of Russian Psychoanalysis by Larissa Sazanovitch


- Syria

 - Jordan

- Lebanon


- Egypt 



- Algeria

- Libya



Questo testo è tratto dal discorso pronunciato da J.-P. Vernant (morto il 9.01.2007) nel 1999, in occasione del 50° anniversario del Consiglio d'Europa, e che è inscritto sul ponte che collega Strasburgo a Kehl:

<<Passare un ponte, traversare un fiume, varcare una frontiera, è lasciare lo spazio intimo e familiare ove si è a casa propria per penetrare in un orizzonte differente, uno spazio estraneo, incognito, ove si rischia - confrontati a ciò che è altro - di scoprirsi senza

 "luogo proprio", senza identità. Polarità dunque dello spazio umano, fatto di un dentro e di un fuori. Questo "dentro" rassicurante, turrito, stabile, e questo "fuori" inquietante, aperto, mobile, i Greci antichi hanno espresso sotto la forma di una coppia di divinità unite e opposte: Hestia e Hermes. Hestia è la dea del focolare, nel cuore della casa. Tanto Hestia è sedentaria, vigilante sugli esseri umani e le ricchezze che protegge, altrettanto Hermes è nomade, vagabondo: passa incessantemente da un luogo all'altro, incurante delle frontiere, delle chiusure, delle barriere. Maestro degli scambi, dei contatti, è il dio delle strade ove guida il viaggiatore, quanto Hestia mette al riparo tesori nei segreti penetrali delle case.  Divinità che si oppongono, certo, e che pure sono indissociabili. E' infatti all'altare della dea, nel cuore delle dimore private e degli edifici pubblici che sono, secondo il rito, accolti, nutriti, ospitati gli stranieri venuti di lontano. Perché ci sia veramente un "dentro", bisogna che possa aprirsi su un "fuori", per accoglierlo in sé. Così ogni individuo umano deve assumere la parte di Hestia e la parte di Hermes. Tra le rive del Medesimo e dell'Altro, l'uomo è un ponte>>.







 (in english)


G. Leo (ed.), "LA PSICOANALISI E I SUOI CONFINI"(Astrolabio, Roma, 2009)

Reviewed by Ambra Cusin








Ambra Cusin is Psychoanalyst ( SPI e IPA) and lives in Trieste (Italy).











I remember when, I was in primary school,  my teacher showed me, among the characteristics of a region or a country, first of all which are its borders.

Giuseppe Leo in “La psicoanalisi e i suoi confini”, the book not only he edited but also he attended the translation, tried to get a similar operation by drawing our attention to the so many disciplines that psychoanalysis borders  on and strays from,  the so many spheres that, rather than limiting it by defining its territory, amplify its area of interest – the sight of human psychical world – enrich and nourish it,  in time having established it as discipline whose contributions have certainly moulded and left an outstanding imprint on the whole western culture and outlook. This collective work is born in order to keep the fifth anniversary of the on-line psychoanalytic Revue “Frenis Zero”, whose Giuseppe Leo is the editor-in-chief. “Frenis Zero”, since its establishment, as Leo says in the introduction, <<aims to go through (the sphere of) the dialogue of contemporary psychoanalysis with ‘bordering’ disciplines, often provided with epistemologies which seem to be incommensurable to it as origin and history. Even the genesis of the neologism “Frenis” recalls the greek word ‘phrén’, with a double semantic denotation  both to the ‘mind’ and to the ‘diaphragm’ so referring to a ‘mental’ one can think of on the basis of spatial metaphors like the ones of ‘border’ and ‘limit’>>(Leo, “La psicoanalisi e i suoi confini”, p.7).

For me, who always, for my training and approach, I have been attracted by the “mystery and infiniteness” of analytical relationship, this book looks like a virtuous provocation.

The works gathered in it, consisting in essays written by so influential contemporary psychoanalysts, as Resnik, Gabbard,  Jiménez, Fonagy,  Kernberg,   Altounian,  Hinshelwood  and Grotstein, and published inside “Frenis Zero”, stimulate the reader to think, to discuss some rigidities in a critical way in order to contribute to the development of  a project for the future evolution of psychoanalysis, as suggests Jiménez, trying to overcome the very miserable partisanships that suffocate us as human beings (Kernberg), therefore allowing us creative and inconceivable open-mindedness (Gabbard) which is able to unite sincerity – interfacing ourselves with other disciplines – with renewed trust in the psychoanalytic model.

Some time ago I heard that the word “confine” can mean also “con-fini”[1], i.e. common aims or purposes. In this sense I felt I could accept the challenge of reviewing this book.  As regard with some subjects, especially concerning the biological and neuropsychological aspects of mental functioning, above all I perceived the authors’ aspiration to pursue the common purpose of showing the importance and the topical interest of psychoanalysis, the richness of its contribution to the other disciplines not only at a therapeutic level, but also as a way to understand and to give sense to the unthinkable. I have to admit that I felt a little sceptical as regard with the aspects before mentioned – on this matter Bion’s warning crosses my mind when he invited to pay attention to the fact that the field <<of scientific investigations, because of human inadequacy, is restricted only to those phenomena having the characters of the inanimate>> (Bion, “Learning from Experience”, ital. ed. “Apprendere dall’esperienza”, Armando, Roma, 1972, p. 38), and therefore the complexity of mind cannot be dealt, according to him, with scientific method because its weakness could result in being <<much closer>> than one can admit <<to the weakness of psychotic thinking>> (ibidem, p. 39).

So, this awareness of the con-fine, of the common purpose aroused my curiosity and stimulated me to look ahead beyond my mental borders (“confini” in Italian) to meet other thoughts to confront myself with. And this is always an operation providing open-mindedness.


The borders showed by Leo in this collection of texts which, without having pretensions to exhaustiveness about the subject, on the contrary stimulate us to search further ones, are those with the similar disciplines: not only neuroscience, psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry, but those spheres of knowledge placed, like psychoanalysis, on a border that often has the function of a diaphragm, for ex. history, literature, semantics, fallibility researches.

The various essays, often curiously intertwined each other by the “fil rouge” provided by the work of Matte Blanco and Bion – the first essay written by Grotstein being splendidly linked to – give a new thickness to human knowledge, showing  mostly potentialities of open-mindedness. Thanks to the mathematical architrave useful to study the origin and the evolution of our emotional truth, as Grotstein reminds us, we can <<progress in shedding our defensive icons of thought images so that we can attain the transcendent position>> (“La psicoanalisi e i suoi confini,  p.34) and we can reply to the not uncommon question of what an emotion is: <<An emotion is an essay of emotional truth which is wrapped in the covering or container of myth, dream, or phantasy (“alpha-function”)–as neurons are wrapped in myelin>>(ibidem, p. 34).


In my reading I started from Gabbard’s text, arousing my attention for the transparency and the sincerity one can guess since the first lines: <<The word “frontiers” inspired visions of danger, of wildness, and of uncivilized regions where the constraints of society no longer apply>>(ibidem, p. 53). I think that speaking about the dramatic consequences of our errors, about the failure of an analysis, that the courage of facing its effects and nevertheless remaining within psychoanalytic theory, better founding on it the reconstruction of what has been destroyed by a psychic earthquake able to overwhelm us, is a frontier which will never end to provide results always charged with new opportunities of knowledge. Gabbard describes – but is to be thanked the anonymous colleague Dr. N. too, who provided the material with sincerity and honesty – a situation very rich of errors in which everyone can slip, errors arising from the deepest and most intimate parts  of any psychoanalyst’s personal life, who is firstly a human being and never a ‘psyche superman’, who, better, uses his own fragility to be tuned in the other person. Gabbard tries to <<identify the nether-regions of the psychoanalytic enterprise, where we are vulnerable to attack, beset by wildness, and imperiled by the dangers inherent in our work>>(ibidem, p. 53) through the themes of the incapacity of mentalisation, of the analytical space collapsing, of the omnipotence, of the loss, with the important underlining of the efficacy in allowing to our patients to transform us in “bad objects”, without trying to disidentify with the aggressor.

Then, I went on reading the texts written by Jiménez and Fonagy.

<<It has  befallen on us to practise our profession in turbulent but stimulating times, because the overall state of present-day psychoanalysis is ambiguous>>(ibidem, p. 76). This is  the incipit of Jiménez who tries to show the “accumulated” way of psychoanalytic knowledge and its fragmentation. According to Jiménez, who appeals to Kandel, if the challenge for psychoanalysts can be to become active participants in the difficult common effort of understanding the mind - an effort to be made not only by psychoanalysis but by biology and psychology – it is only by turning the crisis to  advantage for psychoanalysis and by stopping considering it as a threat that we can develop new treatment  techniques based on empirical research (made by  psychoanalytical institutes too) regarding therapeutic process and outcomes.

It is no doubt that cannot exist any absolutely valid theory and that there are natural limits to the validation domain which had already led Freud to carry out the “bereavement of totality” (cfr. Assoun, 1981, ital. ed. Introduzione all’epistemologia freudiana”, ed. Theoria Roma – Napoli 1988); so it is necessary to create the possibility of observing mental facts in the specificity of that laboratory which is the analytical room. Corrao has already pointed out that  narrative quality of communication is compatible with scientific reliability, and in their essays Jiménez and Fonagy underline how it is indispensable to find ways in order to demonstrate psychoanalysis efficacy as therapeutic method; better, Jiménez discloses the reason why psychoanalytic cure is efficacious at the level of neurobiological modifications.

If according to Fonagy symptomatic  change,  as the exclusive indicator of therapeutic benefit, cannot be considered the only crude datum referred to the complexity of interpersonal processes developing in the span of hundreds of sessions – and that, says the author, makes many psychoanalysts agree with him, including me – Fonagy provides many concrete data about the results many researches verified, underlining that one difficulty is the resistance to systematization of psychoanalytic knowledge, the other is the pervasivity of countertransference, preventing the analyst from being an efficacious observer of his own clinical work.

Moreover, Fonagy says  the progress in the disciplines regarding the mind has been already so  relevant that excluding informations from these disciplines is <<a  high risk  strategy at a time when interdisciplinary collaboration is perceived as the driving force of knowledge acquisition>>(ibidem, p.108).

To these contributions is to be added the passionate and creative one written by Resnik who re-examines Charles’s case he already dealt with in his famous book “Mental Space”, adding further reflections which help us to grasp, as he himself states, the importance of semantics and of idiosyncratic meaning psychotic patients can give to reality representations and personifications. In Resnik’s past consulting room, in Rio Terrà ai Saloni in Venice, there was a picture representing a soldier guarding the entry of  a castle: there were many reveries made  by the analytic group members about this “border” between external and internal world which welcomed us at each session. To Resnik I feel to have an emotional debt, I will never be able to pay off, because he introduced me to this infinity represented by the so many possible interpretations starting from one word, from a voice tone, from a nuance becoming the deeply understanding key in analytic work with patients, particularly with  psychotic individuals, or better with the psychotic aspects  living in us and helping us just when we try to get in contact with the patient. Resnik’s capability of grasping creatively these nuances, not only in patients, but in so many analysts analysed and supervised by him, of whom the essay contained in this book is an example, I think it can be considered as a cornerstone of current psychoanalysis.

A similarly passionate attitude is findable in Grotstein’s essay that makes us reflect on affects and emotions going through apparently far territories, passing from Damasio to Bion and Matte Blanco, with an epilogue which strongly summarizes an imperative of our profession: <<Every emotion is truth’s envoy. (…) We must learn to become tolerant of ourselves as we occasionally fall by the wayside into the ravines of error and pettiness while ascending the North Face of Truth>> – the most difficult one and the most exposed to bad weather, I observe as  mountain-loving. <<We must then pick ourselves up and continue to rappel it. We must have faith that the effort is worth it>>(ibidem, p.34).

And then,  Kernberg  as usual spurs us by having recourse to the story of his own personal experience, of his studies and his relations with psychoanalytic institutions who he is able to criticize constructively above all about many resistances of ours towards empirical research which seems to <<threaten the psychoanalytic enterprise>>(ibidem, p.132).  In this essay, Kernberg operates a patient work of “restitching”, similar to the delight taken by an embroideress in intertwining coloured threads  with the gems of psychoanalysis. How often we recognize as true the criticism, that is on the other hand the subject of many works of his, against the authoritarian ways in which are welcomed candidates, torn by the necessity of complying with psychoanalytic ideology on one hand, idealizing their teachers, and, on the other hand,  by the wish and the creative need of expressing their own thinking. It looks almost discouraging to observe that the authoritarian basic atmosphere devours any personal creativeness, flattening the research onto a dogmatic adhesion to some outstanding analysts, associated to the basic devaluation of different theoretical approaches! But beyond these “partisanships”, according to Kernberg, the great challenge, current psychoanalysis is to be faced with, lies in succeeding to compete with treatment methods of cognitive-behavioural psychology, with psychopharmacology, with the arising amount of neuroscience researches, especially concerning the nature of unconscious motivations and psychological development.

Kernberg’s “historical” writing is well connected with Hinshelwood’s deep analysis of psychoanalysis history in Britain in the earliest years of the past century, and of the many influences that psychoanalysis exerted on several fields of human knowledge: philosophy, progressive education, pressures towards higher degrees of sexual freedom, politics, literary world, psychology as empirical science, the “new” psychiatry, social and cultural history, and religious thought evolution. If one needs bibliographical references, this essay is a precious casket!

The book ends with Altounian’s literary/psychoanalytic work which reminds us of the importance of being able to write about trauma.

<<Because the autobiographical elements in my work on psychic transmission in the descendants of people who have survived collective violence qualify, I think, as secondary elaborations of “clinical material” that may be useful to others, I do not hesitate to present them here>> (ibidem, p.187), in this book in which the author upholds the idea that, if the effect of practices of violence is, precisely, to sack  the personal sphere and inner self,  on the contrary being able to make them public by narration <<disburdens, liberates and protects the subjectifying space of an individual life>>(ibidem, p.197). In this essay Altounian publishes some parts of the private diary written by her father,  an Armenian genocide survivor. And she does it as her own “duty” whereas it is the testimony of how her father, <<in committing the incandescence of memory to paper, (…) no doubt sought (…) to throttle or distance or exorcise, by the act of writing, the terror that he had “endured”>>(ibidem, p.212). Is difficult any comment to this poetical essay, for it succeeds to mix a deeply-felt and upsetting prose with the psychoanalytic interpretation, making us lose any sense of border between one another.

Giuseppe Leo is right in his introduction when he translates “phrén” as diaphragm too: really, reading this book allows us to have a “diaphragmatic” breathing (“respiro” in Italian, translater’s note) exercise, and it makes us, as analysts, feel within a far-reaching (“di ampio respiro” in Italian, translater’s note) theory which moves towards new open-mindedness of thinkableness and interdisciplinary dialogue. As we say in my own city, Trieste, in which the borders have been studded with violence and death: <<Brez meja>>… i.e. <<without borders>>!






[1] Giampaolo Crepaldi, in his installation speech as new Bishop of Trieste.




































    english version

  version française in italiano
"THALASSA. Portolano of Psychoanalysis" is a co-production of "Penta Editions" (Dir. Cosimo Trono) and "Frenis Zero" revue (Dir. Giuseppe Leo) and it would be an attempt to link psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, belonging to the Mediterranean countries. Why would we put the Mediterranean Sea at the centre of attention of psychoanalytic culture? Because it continues keeping , in spite of a time of globalisation of human, cultural and economic exchanges, a central role of hinge between West and East, between cultural patterns dramatically faced with the contemporary problem of sharing universalizable patterns of "humanitas" and civilization. Psychoanalysis, with its group and mass-psychology functioning theories, can help in understanding the anthropological transformations concerning human societies and social institutions in the contemporary world. Our preminent interest is focused on the transformations regarding the cultural "koiné" that has been historically configured as mediterranean, and, moreover,  on the way psychoanalysis can provide interpretative means to investigate them thoroughly. Linking each other  psychoanalysts who, in spite of their different professional backgrounds, share a common belonging to the same cultural milieu, means consulting those who think about such changes from a point of view in which psychoanalysis keeps a preminent role. The means to create this link  would be the traditional ones (through international congresses and colloques), but also those provided by  internet and new communication technologies. "THALASSA. Portolano of Psychoanalysis" est une co-production de "Penta Editions" (Dir. Cosimo Trono) et de la revue "Frenis Zero" (Dir. Giuseppe Leo), née avec le but de mettre en réseau psychanalystes et psychothérapeutes provenants de Pays  Méditerranéens. Pourquoi voulons nous  mettre la Mer Méditerranéenne au centre de l'attention de la culture psychanalytique? Parce que celle-ci continue à tenir, bien que dans une époque de mondialisation des échanges humaines, culturels et économiques, un role central de charnière entre Occident et Orient, entre patterns culturels  dramatiquement confrontés avec la question toute contemporaine de partager de patterns universalisables de "humanitas" et de civilisation. La psychanalyse, avec ses theories du fonctionnement groupal et  des masses, peut nous aider à mieux comprendre les transformations anthropologiques concernantes les sociétés humaines et les institutions sociales dans le monde contemporain. Notre prééminent interet est concentré sur les transformations qui regardent cette koiné culturelle qui historiquement  s'est formée comme mediterraneenne , et sur le comment la psychanalyse peut donner des outils interpretatifs pour approfondir la connaissance de celles-ci. Mettre en liaison des psychanalystes qui, malgré les différentes traditions professionnelles de provenance, partagent l'appartenance au meme milieu méditerranéen,  veut dire interpeller ceux qui réfléchent sur tels changements à partir d'une perspective où la psychanalyse garde une place prééminente. Les moyens pou créer tel réseau seraient ceux traditionnels (séminaires et colloques internationaux), mais aussi innovateurs comme ceux-ci donnés par internet et les nouvelles technologies de communication.  "THALASSA. Portolano of Psychoanalysis" è una co-produzione di "Penta Editions" (Dir. Cosimo Trono) e della rivista "Frenis Zero" (Dir. Giuseppe Leo), nel tentativo di mettere in rete psicoanalisti e psicoterapeuti provenienti dai paesi del Mediterraneo. Perché porre il Mediterraneo al centro dell'attenzione della cultura psicoanalitica?  Perché esso continua ad avere, pur in un'epoca di globalizzazione di scambi umani, culturali ed economici,  quel ruolo centrale di cerniera tra Occidente ed Oriente, tra patterns culturali  messi drammaticamente a confronto con la  problematica contemporanea della condivisione di modelli universalizzabili di "humanitas" e di civiltà. La psicoanalisi,  con le sue teorie sul funzionamento dei gruppi e della psicologia  delle masse, può agevolare la comprensione delle trasformazioni antropologiche  che riguardano le società umane  e le istituzioni sociali nel mondo contemporaneo. Il nostro precipuo interesse è concentrato sulle trasformazioni che hanno per oggetto quella  koiné culturale che storicamente si è configurata come 'mediterranea', e su come la psicoanalisi possa fornire strumenti interpretativi per approfondire  la conoscenza di esse. Porre in collegamento tra di loro gli psicoanalisti che, pur nella diversità delle tradizioni professionali di provenienza, condividono  l'appartenenza al medesimo milieu mediterraneo, significa interpellare coloro che riflettono su tali rivolgimenti da una prospettiva in cui la psicoanalisi mantiene un ruolo preminente. Gli strumenti per creare tale rete saranno quelli tradizionali (attraverso dei seminari e dei congressi internazionali), ma anche quelli innovativi offerti da  internet e dalle nuove tecnologie di comunicazione.





A (Aberastury-Avunculo)
B-C (Babinski-Cura)
D- E (Dador de la mujer-Ey Henri)
F- G (Fachinelli Elvio-Guilbert Yvette)
H-I (Haas Ladislav-Italia)
J-M (Jackson John- Myers F.W.H.)
N- O (Naesgaard Sigurd-Otsuki K.)
P (Pacto denegativo-Putnam)






Cosimo Trono - psychanalyste, énseignant Univ. Paris XIII, directeur Editions "Penta" telecharger  le catalogue

Giuseppe Leo - psichiatra, Centro Psicoterapia Dinamica (Lecce- Italia), editor "Frenis Zero" click here

Comité scientifique/Comitato Scientifico/Scientific Board:

Abram Coen (Paris) psychiatre, chef du service secteur infanto-juvenil Paris-Nord,  directeur collection "Psychanalyse, Médecine et Societé" chez Penta Editions.

Nicole Janigro (Milano) psicoanalista junghiana, nata a Zagabria, collabora a progetti di formazione legati al tema dell’ elaborazione del conflitto, rivolti a volontari e operatori attivi sul campo nelle aree di crisi della ex Jugoslavia. Ha in corso una ricerca su sogno e guerra. 












Copyright © 2007-2008-2009 Cosimo Trono and Giuseppe Leo All Rights Reserved  : "Thalassa. Portolano of Psychoanalysis" is a co-production of "Editions Penta"(59, rue Saint-André des-Arts,, Paris VI, tel./fax: (0033)0143257761) and "Frenis Zero" revue (Ce.Psi.Di.: via Lombardia, n.18- 73100 Lecce- Italia- ISSN: 2037-1853.