The shocking events, misinformation, betrayals, and back-stabbings of the last month suggest what a thoroughly divided nation we are. We are split along class and education lines in a way Continental Europeans can’t really appreciate. Those I have spoken to recently about Brexit – Dutch, Danish, French and Germans – are both shocked that we sacrificed our position in Europe and outraged by the resignations of the three main players and the ‘business-as-normal’ attitude in our public life.
We live in fascinating times, where recent advances in trauma theory, attachment theory, relational psychoanalysis, and infant research not only allow us, but require us, to revisit and reconsider the fundamental tenets of our theory and practice.
At nearly 80, I thought it could be useful to share with readers my experience of nearly fifty years in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In addition to my clinical work, four basic experiences converge in this book.
First, after receiving my medical degree in Milan, I trained in genetics and evolutionary theory in Pavia with Cavalli-Sforza, a specialist in human genetics who later moved to the USA. After this, I turned to the field of psychiatry and trained in New York in 1963-64 with Silvano Arieti, who belonged to the interpersonal-cultural school founded in 1943 by Sullivan and Fromm, and whose books I later translated into Italian. In New York, I also attended a course in sociology at the New School for Social Research, where Fromm, and before him, Ferenczi, had lectured.
In 1982 I started to correspond with John Bowlby; in 1985 I met him in London to discuss a paper on “Attachment Theory as an Alternative Basis for Psychoanalysis”, which I presented in Zürich later that year; I then kept up my correspondence with Bowlby until his death in 1990. My reading of Fromm confirmed my interest in the social sciences, and my acquaintance with Bowlby renewed my interest in evolutionary theory.