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Setting - Presentation

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The A.S.P.’s editorial activity began in 1990 with the A.S.P. Notebooks (Quaderni dell’A.S.P.), the journal that was later to become Setting, in 1996. Edited by FrancoAngeli since 2005, it has since been recognized as a specific contribution within the contemporary clinical psychoanalytic debate. With its particular attention to the “inextricable bind” between theory, clinical activity and research and to the most creatively critical voices within psychoanalysis, from Infant Research to neuroscientific contributions, Setting aims to support the boundless and “endless” psychoanalytic training based on Freud’s works. Setting’s mission is to open the debate between different approaches, to foster the dialogue between the sciences of the mind and of the brain, and support the continuous revision and development of one’s theoretical models that being a psychotherapist and a psychoanalyst necessarily requires. 

The “Letters” and “Comments” sections aim to offer suggestions to readers for the exploration of theoretical and technical issues, rather than merely reaffirm the Association’s or the editorial board’s scientific or cultural approaches. Setting wants to open the A.S.P. to comparison and introduce contemporary issues within the psychoanalytical debate. The A.S.P. was founded in 1987 by a group of psychoanalysts trained by Gaetano Benedetti (Basel) and Johannes Cremerius (Freiburg im Bresgau) and by their ex-students at the Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy Center of Milan in via Alberto da Giussano. Benedetti and Cremerius’s approach, since the 1960s, has always been dissonant compared to the mainstream Italian psychoanalytical landscape, as it tended to integrate Freud’s structural theory with the later developments of Object Relations Theory and, in particular, with the theoretical conceptualizations of the so-called British “middle group” – now known as the “British Independents” – who sought to bring together some Kleinian positions with elements derived from Ego Psychology. Both Benedetti, who was primarily interested in psychotherapeutical approaches to psychosis, and Cremerius, in his technical papers and writings on analytic training, moreover, paved the way to a critical reading of society and a post-Freudian exploration of the relationship between society and psychoanalysis, which Setting seeks to continue and develop.

Among the main issues Setting has sought to explore, there have been a set of articles which, drawing from Object Relations Theory, have dealt with the conceptualization of field theory models and, more recently, of epistemological and technical problems connected to the co-presence of divergent approaches in post-modern psychoanalysis and of relativism and extreme constructivism. Nor has there been a lack of articles drawing from contemporary Ego Psychology, focusing on issues such as the analyst’s attention to and work on the Ego’s unconscious defenses and on the patient’s intra-psychic world. Bridging both trends there have been contributions on the psychoanalytic process from an empirical research perspective, which have been one of the publication’s distinguishing features. While drawing upon different methodologies, these contributions seek to bridge research and practice or test the validity of certain core theoretical constructs, such as Attachment Theory and the systemic-dyadic model of change in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis.

Other important trends have included: the need to bridge the gap between psychoanalysis and neuroscience; psychotherapy with particularly difficult patients, such as those diagnosed as schizophrenic or borderline, at a time when client-focused models seem to dominante, together with a certain standardization of psychiatric assistance and the rise of “covert hospitalization” practices; problems concerning an authentically psychoanalytic training.