New interpretative styles: progress or contamination?: psychoanalysis and phenomenological psychopathology

Mario Rossi Monti
International Journal of Psycho-analysis 2005, 86: 1011-32
Psychoanalysis has started to recoup, often quite implicitly, a more phenomenological stance, ever since psychoanalysts have started working with borderline and psychotic patients. As many of these patients have commonly been through traumatic experiences, psychoanalysts have been using an approach that questions the role of traditional psychoanalytical interpretation and pays more attention to the patient's inner conscious experiences; this approach is characteristic of a specific form of contemporary psychiatry: phenomenological psychopathology, founded by Karl Jaspers in 1913 and developed into a form of psychotherapy by Ludwig Binswanger, with his Daseinsanalyse. If what we could call a phenomenological 'temptation' has been spreading over psychoanalysis, so too has a psychoanalytical 'temptation' always been present in phenomenological psychopathology. In fact, even though this branch of psychiatry has led us towards a deeper understanding of the characteristics of psychotic being-in-the-world, its therapeutic applications have never been adequately formalised, much less have they evolved into a specific technique or a structured psychotherapeutic approach. Likewise, phenomenological psychotherapy has always held an anaclitic attitude towards psychoanalysis, accepting its procedures but refusing its theoretical basis because it is too close to that of the objectifying natural sciences. Psychoanalytic 'temptation' and phenomenological 'temptation' can thus be considered as two sides of the same coin and outline a trend in psychoanalytic and phenomenological literature which points out the fundamental role of the patient's inner conscious experiences in the treatment of borderline and psychotic patients.

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