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Language of Psychoanalysis – Laplanche & Pontalis

Laplanche and Pontalis’s Language of Psychoanalysis should evidently not be absent from any psychoanalysts who claims oneslelf to be one.  For rather obvious reasons this book is essential to own preciously. It is essentialy nothing other than a dictionary of concepts in psychoanalysis, from the birth of psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud, but not only. We find in it also concepts and notions from other writers, including Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan. The definitions are concise, with a succint but clear summary of the history of the concept in question.

Unsurprisingly enough concepts have a life on their own. They somethimes evolve into something one may find difficult to retrace with confidence, leaving us instead with the risk of not having properly understood what is ultimately at stake. The Language of Psychoanalysis by Laplanche & Pontalis is essential to own because its aim is to make the foundations of psychoanalysis robust, something which allow for psychoanalytical research to be solidly built upon. It is an instant authority in itself.

Jean Laplanche (1924 – 2012) was described by the journal ‘Radical Philosophy’ as “the most original and philosophically informed psychoanalytic theorist of his day.” Studying philosophy under Hyppolite, Bachelard, and Merleau-Ponty, he became an active member of the French Resistance under the Vichy regime. Under the influence (and treatment) of Jacques Lacan, Laplanche came to earn a doctorate in medicine and was certified as a psychoanalyst. He eventually broke ties with Lacan and began regularly publishing influential contributions to psychoanalytic theory, his first volume appearing in 1961. In 1967 he published, with his colleague J.-B. Pontalis, the celebrated encyclopaedia ‘The Language of Psychoanalysis’. A member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, co-founder of the Association Psychanalytique de France, emeritus professor and founder of the Center for Psychoanalytic Research at the Universite de Paris VII, and assistant professor at the Sorbonne, he also oversaw, as scientific director, the translation of Freud’s complete oeuvre into French for the Presses Universitaires de France.


Language of Psychoanalysis by Laplanche & Pontalis seats at the foundation of my clinical practice

The book may be found here

See also my Short Introductions in Psychoanalysis here


Book details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (31 Dec. 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946439494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946439492

English French Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy dreams Freud

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