‘Translation’ and ‘transformation’ in the analytic situation: Freud – Bion – Laplanche



Following a short introduction to the core theses of Jean Laplanche’s theory of a ‘general seduction’ the author presents the resultant clinical position of the analyst. In the same way that an adult sends ‘enigmatic messages’ to the child, it is the analyst’s task to reopen this primal situation so that the patient can find new ‘translations’ for these messages. Laplanche distinguishes between the function of the analytic frame – which represents and supports attachment – and the ‘sexual’– which is the repressed and constitutes the unconscious. Only the focus on this unconscious facilitates the deconstruction of ‘incorrect’ translations. Accordingly, the analyst, says Laplanche, should not take part in construction – this is a self-construction of the patient – but only in reconstruction. The author compares this clinical model with Freud’s notions and the ‘transformation processes’ through the alpha function as described by Bion. She illustrates Laplanche’s model and the interpretation strategy with case material.