1st Edition

Torments of the Soul
Psychoanalytic transformations in dreaming and narration

ISBN 9780415813440
Published February 25, 2015 by Routledge
208 Pages 16 Color & 38 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

In Torments of the Soul, Antonino Ferro revisits and expands on a theme that has long been at the heart of his work: the study of dreams during sleep and in the waking state, and the psychoanalytic narrative. Following Bion, he focuses on the importance of what he sees as the task of contemporary psychoanalysis for generating, containing and transforming previously unmanageable emotions with a clinical psychoanalytic context.

Antonino Ferro explores the concepts of 'transformations in dreaming', the session as a dream, individuals transformed into characters, the interpretation of these characters, and readings of them as the functioning of a single mind or as an analytic field created by the meeting of two minds: the client's and the analyst's. Here, a new identity, the analytic field, is formed from the reverie of both participants, which makes it possible to work on complex, nonlinear phenomena in a radical way, creating a 'royal road' to the unconscious communication of the patient.

Torments of the Soul contains a plethora of clinical vignettes from the author's extensive psychoanalytic work with adults and children to illustrate the substantial theoretical progression he advocates here. Offering significant and important new interpretations of theories and ways of working with patients, this book will be essential reading for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, psychologists, students of these fields and those interested in the human sciences.

Table of Contents

The Torments of the Soul. Grasping and Casting. Looking Around and Going to the Cinema. In Praise of Interruption and of Apparent Stupidity. Therapeutic Action and Characters of the Field. Casting and Mental Suffering. Who Has Seen it? Stories of Life, Stories of Analysis, Publication and Transmission of Psychoanalysis. Clinical Implications of Bion’s Thinking. Psychoanalytical Exercises and Games.

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Antonino Ferro is President of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society and also Consultant Associate Editor of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. He is a training and supervising analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, the American Psychoanalytic Association and the International Psychoanalytical Association. He has been a visiting professor of psychoanalysis in various institutions in Europe, North America, South America and Australia. He received the Sigourney Award in 2007.


"Within the context of brief, far reaching statements, and a multitude of clinical examples, Nino Ferro shows his deep understanding of the human condition, and his clinical method of helping patients find the freedom to think and feel. His method of working with the process over content, while searching to be in unison with the patient, and interpreting in an unsaturated fashion, are central to a growing common ground in psychoanalysis. The clarity and playfulness of Dr. Ferro’s writing allow us to dream with him, and be enriched by the experience. This book is essential reading for those wanting to learn about a Bionian influenced clinical method from an inspired teacher, clinician, and writer." - Fred Busch, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Boston Psychoanalytic Institute. Author of Creating a Psychoanalytic Mind

"Torments of the soul" represents a step forward in the bright journey of one of the most creative masters of psychoanalytic theory and practice of our time, Antonino Ferro. I imagine, from my own experience, that the readers of this book will read it with a mixture of pleasure, surprise, doubt, uneasiness and above all a feeling of trust and joy. .... He discusses what is, what defines and what constitutes an analyst, and shows how this condition can be developed, from an institutional point of view, but above all from day-to-day experience. He goes into clinical details, as in his previous work, and continues to develop his formidable work of building a specific way of analytic listening. I would go as far as to say that I see here, more than ever before, Antonino Ferro painting, almost in the style of Michelangelo, his own version of this art of psychoanalysis, as Ogden once said. ... I hope each reader of this remarkable book will be able to feel the same trust in our method and the same joy produced by its almost unending possibilities that I felt while following this new step in Antonino Ferro´s brilliant journey." - Claudio L. Eizirik, IPA Past President