IPA Inter-Regional Encyclopedic Dictionary of Psychoanalysis

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situation (Chused, Ellman, Renik, Rothstein, 1999), may be communicated nonverbally or verbally (see the “interpretative enactment” by Steiner, 2006a, below). In Latin America this conceptual plurarity has been reduced, owing to the additional historical influences of authors like Racker (1948, 1988), Grinberg (1957, 1962), and Baranger & Baranger (1961-1962), and the further contemporary studies of Cassorla (2001, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015), Sapisochin (2007, 2013) and others. • The predominant contemporary understanding of enactment in Latin America concerns phenomena where the analytical field is invaded by discharges and/or behaviors that involve both patient and analyst. Enactments arise from mutual emotional inducement without the members of the analytical dyad clearly realizing what is happening. Enactments reflect back to situations where verbal symbolization was impaired and, when words are available, they are used in limited and concrete ways. Enactments are ways of remembering early relationships through behaviors and feelings that are part of defensive organizations. (See below the differences between chronic and acute enactments) European understanding of the term is closer to the Latin American than to the North American version, because the concept is rather exclusively confined to the analytical session. However, for some European analysts it differs from the Latin American version in that enactment is not so much a co-creation of patient and analyst, but rather the result of the interaction between them. The references to enactment being positioned within the countertransference or acting out are also fairly common. • For example, Steiner’s (2006a) view of “interpretative enactment” is about the analyst's verbal communication, and is the idea that, though offered as interpretation, the utterance expresses the analyst's countertransferential feelings and attitudes. The prevailing view of enactment s in relation to psychoanalytic interpretation, within all three continental psychoanalytic cultures, is that whatever the formulation of the underlying processes and contents, enactments, as they relate to the psychoanalytic situation , are seen as developmentally and/or dynamically meaningful, and they need to be understood and ultimately, however gradually and in an individualized fashion , interpreted (Papiasvili, 2016).


The contemporary concepts of enactment all have roots in concepts that Freud articulated. From the time of Breuer’s treatment of Anna O. (Breuer, 1893) – the first collusion described in the psychoanalytical literature – Freud (1895) was concerned about actions that took place in the course of the patient unfolding his or her problems to the analyst. Transference (1905)


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