Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis – 2018
Volume XI, No.1 and No. 2
The 11th volume of the Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis (deadline for manuscript submission: early February for the 1st issue and early June for the 2nd issue) approaches authenticity and the authentic, a topic that lies within the scope of the publication, all the more so as it is addressed after another topic of interest – identity from a psychoanalytic perspective – covered in both issues of the previous volume. As identity, the authentic makes the individual different and unique in relation to The Other.
The explanatory dictionary of the Romanian language provides the following meanings of the word authentic:
AUTHÉNTIC, -Ă adj. certain, unquestionable, obvious, indisputable; whose author is incontestable; original. ♦ (Referring to deeds) Drawn up in compliance with the legal standards. [Pron. a-u-. / cf. it. autentico, lat. authenticus, gr. authentikos – indisputable < authentes – author].
AUTHÉNTIC, -Ă adj. whose authority or verity cannot be questioned; recognised as belonging to an author, to an era; real, true; original; genuine. ◊ (referring to deeds) drawn up in compliance with the legal standards. (< fr. authentique, lat. authenticus)
Starting from these definitions, we wonder what would authentic mean to a person, how can someone be authentic to themselves but also to the others?
In a social context in which the individual is, most of the times, the image they display, their manifestation directions are given by fashion, technology generates growing and more surprising needs, the social standards base on appearance, what is the role of the authentic and what does it represent?
We may say that the authentic reflects the deep-rooted truth of the human being which differentiates them from the others, shaping their uniqueness. Adapting to the social and cultural environment implies a certain degree of compliance which can prevent a person from expressing their authentic selves. Also, preserving their authentic nature may lead to the marginalisation of the individual.
From a psychoanalytic perspective, we may ask ourselves what agency is responsible for the authenticity of a person. Is it a single agency or the authentic reflects in the relationship between these agencies grouped in a real Self? What does being authentic mean to a psychoanalyst and how can they express their authenticity during the psychoanalytic process?
The training process, the personal analysis is a way to our authentic selves. At first, discovering the authentic involves a contact with the unfamiliar in us. This meeting with ourselves, with what we have been repressing along the development process due to education and the social and professional environment, with our repressed wishes, with the contents that mark our dreams, is not marked by the pleasure of finding ourselves. On the contrary, it triggers our most intense resistance, we take it out on the analyst as if they were responsible for such contents of our unconscious.
The whole psychoanalytic process is a work with the acceptance of this unknown, sometimes we alter it, other times we recognise it as something that is ours, something authentic. Once discovered and invested as a part of ourselves, this authentic side becomes visible, as a mark of our being. All we have to do next is let it be, namely express ourselves in an authentic manner in the interpersonal relationships. In social life it is impossible for us to reveal ourselves entirely, to completely be ourselves, which makes us express less authentic and comply with the social standards and rules. In our private life it is easier to let this uniqueness show and be ourselves. The expression of our authentic selves in a private but also in a social setting implies also accepting the others’ authenticity. Nevertheless, obviously we cannot manifest ourselves in an authentic way in a social environment, or if we do, we are likely to be penalised. Then what is the use of discovering this deep level of our being if, after we do, we must subject it to the social standards? Even in the analysand – analyst relationship it is hard to remain authentic and we wonder if the analyst themselves are being authentic in their relationship with us.
The evolution and development of psychoanalysis allowed the consideration of the authenticity. Ferenczi and other analysts brought up authenticity within the sessions. The authentic nature of both the analyst and the analysand (or patient) remains an important part of clinical psychoanalysis. Having in view the diversification of the psychoanalytic technique and theory but also the changes occurred in clinical psychoanalysis, we wonder if the authentic shouldn’t be brought up also in terms of psychoanalysis – both as a theory and practice.
The articles covered in the two issues of the 11th volume of the Romanian Journal of Psychoanalysis shed some light on the role of authenticity both at the level of the individual and of the theory and practice of psychoanalysis.