BETWEEN PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TESTIMONIAL SPACE: THE ANALYST AS A WITNESS*

Abstract

The aim of this article is to think of the place of the witness as a third place that the analyst, in the clinical space of trauma, is able to sustain. According to Ferenczi, in traumatic dreams a third is already being summoned. It is not the witness of the realm of law, nor the place of the father or the symbolic law. This is a third space that can be called potential, interstitial space, indeterminate and formless, where something that at first would be incommunicable circulates and gradually takes shape. This space allows and supports the literalness of a testimonial narrative, its hesitations, paradoxes and silences. More than a trauma theory, the notion of a potential space would be the great contribution of psychoanalysis to the treatment of trauma survivors, establishing the difference between the task of a psychoanalyst and the one of a truth commission.

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Correspondence to Jô Gondar.

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Address correspondence to Jô Gondar, PhD. Rua General Cristóvão Barcelos 24/701, Rio de Janeiro, CEP 22245-110, Brazil.

*This paper is part of the Special Issue, Trauma and Subjectivity: A South American Perspective (Gondar, 2017).

Translated by Christianne Otero.

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Gondar, J. BETWEEN PSYCHOANALYSIS AND TESTIMONIAL SPACE: THE ANALYST AS A WITNESS*. Am J Psychoanal 77, 52–63 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s11231-016-9077-y

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Keywords

  • trauma
  • witness
  • potential space
  • clinic
  • testimonial literature