Last updated: 28, Apr., 2009 

     THALASSA. Portolano of Psychoanalysis



NEWS 2008





"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)



by Gerhard Schneider





 This paper was presented at 45th I.P.A. Congress (Berlin, 2007) by the author, we thank very much.

Gerhard Schneider is  I.P.A. psychoanalyst and lives in Mannheim (Germany).










Wolfgang Becker and his team have produced a great film on the most important event in Germany’s post-war history, its re-union in 1990. From the team vicariously I mention by name Bernd Lichtenberg, who wrote the scenario, with Becker as co-author, Martin Kucula, Becker’s old camera-man, and actors Daniel Brühl and Katrin Sass as Alex and mother Kerner, The German re-union was accomplished after 25 years, or nearly two generations, of utmost different economic and social-cultural developments, rooted in contransting ideologies, in East- and West-Germany. Moreover, the re-union was not the result of a working-through process after a deep insight, but it happened like an earthquake, or a volcanic eruption, within a minute of time in history. In summer 1989, the Iron Curtain was opened in Hungary, with tens of thousands leaving the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for the German Federal Republic (GFR). Only a month after the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the GDR on October, 7th, the Wall was opened on November, 9th. It did not even take a year until both parts of Germany were re-united on October, 3rd in 1990.


Psychoanalytically speaking, it is as if a deep-rooted splitting is suspended all of a sudden.

We can expect at least a lot of confusion and turmoil, if not a catastrophe, in such a situation.

To put it differently, the removal of the splitting that may be part of a cure, may also turn out to be a danger, and even a deadly threat. As Freud said: The “ego treats the cure as a new danger” (1937c, p. 84).


The main thesis of my paper is that in this Film Becker depicts, and analyses various aspects of the German un-splitting situation in 1989/90, i. e., on the political and collective, as well as on the individual level. As to the political and collective level, on the one hand, all of the decisive political events of those two years are to be seen on the screen, be it by extracts from then television news, e. g., trains full of people leaving the GDR, be it by scenes belonging to the films narrative itself, e. g., the demonstration when Alex is imprisoned, or the money exchange to German Mark (DM). On the other hand, with regard to collective processes, we are reminded of what one may validly call a kind of colonisation of the East, which was overflooded with advertising and Western-life-style goods, from Coca Cola to television sets and IKEA furniture and so on, and so forth. Moreover, we come to know how the German soccer team won the world cup in summer 1990. Most Germans then experienced that triumph as „we are the champions”. Thus, at least temporarily a collective identity beyond the splitting in East and West was formed, with the corresponding quasi-manic fusionary state of mind.


However, the extraordinary quality of Becker’s film is the intertwining of political and collective history with individual history, shown in the development of the Kerner family. I think Becker succeeds in the intertwining of these two levels in a psychoanalytically convincing way, shedding light upon a psychoanalytic basic principle, i. e., psychic change implies experiencing loss, and if the loss seems to be unbearable, it must be fended off at all costs, or it may lead not to a productive catastrophic change in the sense of Bion, but to a deadly catastrophe.


For reasons of time I will limit my reflections to mother K, whose son Alex functions as a loving guardian angel trying to keep the breakdown of the GDR from her, or, together with his friend Denis, trying to replace it by its opposite, viz., by staging some kind of breakdown of the German Federal Republic. As a consequence, the decisive moment of mother K’s development will be the moment when her guardian does not function for a while, analogous to the course of a psychoanalytic treatment. Thus, I think the Lenin helicopter scene is the turning point of the film. Maybe you remember that it happens when mother K leaves the house unobserved by Alex who has fallen asleep. I will come to the scene later, but, first, I will have to recapitulate her development up to this point.


The film’s narrative begins in 1978 when mother K had a melancholic breakdown after her husband had not returned from a scientific congress in West-Berlin. She recovered from the loss of the loved object by substituting her country for her husband, as Alex, who is commenting on the story in voice over, says: „We didn’t speak of father anymore. From that time on my mother has been married to our socialist fatherland.” Of course, Lenin, whose huge statue we see in the beginning of the film, is part of, and a representation of this idealised love object that she would never again be separated from. However, according to what we will hear from her in her confession at the week-end house some days after the Lenin helicopter scene, she did not oppose her husband’s wish to stay in West-Berlin, but had agreed to follow him with the children, by applying for an exit visa from the GDR, something that she, eventually , didn’t dare doing. She put all the letters from her husband aside, unread, lying to her children that their father had left her because of a woman, and that he had cut off the contact with his family. Moreover, the socialist unity party of the GDR itself had been the main reason for her husband’s flight, as she says: „They rendered his work difficult. Just because he wasn’t a member of the party. That was terrible. I knew, and I couldn’t help him.”


Secondly, mother K did not try and follow her husband, but instead tried to extinguish any memory of him, getting married to the GDR that before had made his, and her life, hard, and that had caused him not to return from the West. There was no mourning process in mother K, by which she could have given up her love object. Instead she suffered from a melancholic breakdown. We may suspect that the psychic state of mother K, and her identity structure, is characterised by an idealisation of the regained object, viz., the GDR, literally East Germany, and the splitting off of the lost object, which is placed in, and represented by the West. In order to preserve this structure that was built up against the psychic death experienced in the melancholic breakdown, neither of two fundamental threats should happen. The first of these threats is the profound de-idealisation of the GDR. The second threat is the process of unsplitting, viz., opening up the defensive barriers against the West. The film shows that the historic development confronts mother K. with both these threats, and both of them are connected with death.


I think that the sudden return of the split-off dead parts of the GDR, and the abrupt breakdown of its idealisation happens a short time after its 40th anniversary in October 1989, when mother K is confronted with the demonstration of young people, calling for more freedom.

The police and Stasi-people brutally attack the demonstrators, knocking some of them down.

Mother K is shocked by what she is seeing. Then she recognizes that her own son, Alex, is arrested and taken to the police van, and she suffers from a heart attack.


For about seven months, from October 1989 to mid-May 1990, mother K lies in a coma. She awakens at a time when another object loss might happen, viz., when Alex is kissing Lara.

Back to life, she will remain in a fragile state of health. Alex, who emotionally is very near to her, starts his career as the guardian angel of his mother. He restores will all his might her substitutive love object, the GDR, that in external reality has crumbled down and is fading away, what may be a reflection of her inner de-idealisation process. The defensive manoeuvres do not only include the restitution of the past. They also include the redefinition of external reality by twisting around the meaning of what is going on. In short, Alex with the help of Denis is staging that it isn’t the GDR that is falling apart, but that it is the GFR that is suffering from a profound crisis. The disavowing manoeuvres staged by manipulation of television images, become necessary whenever fragments of the changing external reality get through the restitutive firewall, and penetrate into mother K’s flat. To put it psychoanalytically, due to the de-idealisation process in mother K, the GDR as an inner object begins to crumble. Fragments of this process overcome the restitutive defense, and must then be fended off by some disavowing defence in the sense of a delusional re-definition of reality.


As I said before, mother K’s defensive system is called into question in the Lenin helicopter scene. Thus, the scene is the turning point in her development, and we may regard it as the central visual phantasy of the film. This corresponds to the outstanding visionary power of the scene that transcends the realistic way of presenting the characters and the story of the film, and that also is the basis for the “Good bye, Lenin” title.


Let me remind you of the scene and its context. Mother K eating Spreewald gerkins watches her little grandchild, Paula, taking her first steps. Shortly after, she herself takes her first steps getting out of bed for the first time. There are a lot of hints that mother K’s rising from the bed and leaving her tomb-like flat, unconsciously confronts her with some terrifying change that has been taking place. While Alex as the guardian of her illusions is sleeping like a dead man, an airship with an advertisement for West cigarettes can be seen through the window just the moment before she looks out. When she takes her coat from the wardrobe, we see that it is hanging just beside the Burger King uniforms of Ariane and Rainer, and her daughter’s new clothes from the West. Going down in the elevator, she watches obscene graffiti and even a swastika on the walls of the elevator. Outside, a young man from West Germany carries Ikea furniture into the house, where she lives. At the billboards there are huge advertising posters for goods from the West.


While mother K is hardly recognising the Karl-Marx-Avenue well-known to her from her former life, Alex is waking up, and is desperately looking for her as we see in a parallel montage. But Alex will be too late to cut off his mother’s vision of the dismantling of the god-like Lenin, who was beside Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels one of the idealised mythical founding fathers of the GDR. From the Eastern, viz., the sun-rise end of the Karl-MarxAvenue a hedge-hopping helicopter is approaching, transporting the dismantled Lenin statue over the city. We see Lenin passing mother K visually at n a short distance, looking at her, and as if stretching out his right arm almost offering her his hand. Maybe he would say a last goodbye to her, or she would have to say goodbye to him on his way to the West where the sun is setting, signifying the fading away of 40 years of GDR communism.


The dismantling, and disappearing of Lenin contains the two threats for mother K, I spoke of before. On the one hand, she is confronted with the loss of the idealised substitute object GDR that up to now has been guarded by her son. The confrontation with this loss continues what has begun with the de-idealisation of the GDR. On the other hand, by the loss of the substitute object, she can no longer keep split off the loss of her primary love object, represented by her husband Robert, and her participation in this splitting process. This is the un-splitting aspect of the confrontation with Lenin disappearing.


Becker depicts the inner state of mother K’s being at the verge of the breakdown of her defensive system in a moving way. We see mother K standing helplessly beside the Karl-Marx-Avenue as if not truly understanding what is going on around her. At that moment, Alex and Ariane see her and bring her back to the flat, without answering her perplexed question: „What’s going on here?”


In what unfolds, the film follows the inner changes in mother K which are analogous to the development in external reality. To be more precise, after mother K’s confession in the weekend house her inner state may be described in the sense of Freud’s notion of ego-splitting. On the one hand, she may know what’s going on, on the other hand, she may deny it and maintain her delusional love object GDR. This state corresponds to the inner state of her guardian Alex, who feels urged to tell her the truth, but turns back to his defensive attitude after her second heart attack.


Three days after the end of the GDR, mother K dies. Alex’ voice-over comments upon his mother’s death are from the perspective of the loving son: „I think it was right that she never got to know the truth. She died happily.” As spectators, we are not convinced that she just didn’t know but at least she knew in the way of ego-splitting. E. g., both Lara and her former husband Robert talked to her for some time without the control of Alex, and Lara was the one who thought it necessary for mother K to know the truth. Moreover, there is the following remark in the screenplay referring to the scene when Sigmund Jähn declares that the GDR would open the Wall: „Mother watches the television news in an affected way. She can hardly believe that her son has given so much trouble for her” (“welche Mühe sich ihr Sohn für sie gemacht hat”). We may add, to create such a perfect illusion for her.



Let me speculate that to have experienced the love of her son, too, belongs to mother K’s development process, and that we do not have to think that her death was solely marked by inner loneliness and despair as it seemed to be the consequence of the inner logic I have tried to unfold. Moreover, with Alex and Lara, the film depicts a young couple whom we can trust in building up a productive future of their own. I think the same is true for the re-union of West and East, East and West. I have drawn my attention to the tragic aspect of „Good bye, Lenin”, but, of course, the film is at the same time full of humour and warmth. „Good bye, Lenin” as a work of art makes us feel that individual life, as well as life on the political and collective level, means dying and coming into existence, in Goethe’s words „Stirb und werde”.



Freud, S. (1937c): Die endliche und die unendliche Analyse [Analysis Terminable and Unterminable] G.W. XVI.


























    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.: viale Gallipoli, 29- 73100 Lecce- Italia- tel. (0039)3386129995)