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Keywords:

  • Jean Laplanche;
  • theory of general seduction;
  • translation;
  • reading of Freud;
  • method;
  • transference;
  • psychotherapy;
  • infantile sexual;
  • sexual

The author proposes an introduction to the work of Jean Laplanche, a well-known figure of psychoanalysis who recently passed away. He foregrounds what he views as the three main axes of Laplanche's work: firstly, a critical reading method applied to Freud's texts; secondly, a model of psychic functioning based on translation; and, thirdly, a theory of general seduction. Far from being an abstract superstructure, the theory of general seduction is firmly rooted in the analytic situation, as the provocation of transference by the analyst best illustrates. The analytic situation indeed consists in a revival and a reopening of the ‘fundamental anthropological situation’ which, according to Laplanche, is the lot of every human baby born in a world where he or she is necessarily exposed to the enigmatic and ‘compromised’ messages of the adult other. Thanks to the process of analytic de-translation, the analysand is therefore granted an opportunity to carry out new translations of the other's enigma – translations or symbolizations that might be more inclusive and less rigid than the pre-existing ones. Incidentally, such a model brings together the purely psychoanalytic and the psychotherapeutic aspects of the treatment.