chapter  4
Digging into the past
WithRavit Raufman
Pages 10

Events experienced in early infancy, prior to the use of words, are deeply imprinted upon our heart as raw, crude feelings characterized by images, or by qualities associated with the senses such as smell or sound. This is why psychoanalysis emphasizes finding ways of using words that can echo the language of early impressions – that of images and senses. The case presented in this chapter demonstrates the interplay between the two forms of language – the verbal/symbolic and the pictorial/concrete as it is often conducted in the therapeutic endeavor. The process of “digging into the past” in the therapeutic enterprise is associated with a patient’s childhood memories from an excavation site, in which his father used to work. Connecting psychology with “digging into the past” is discussed in light of Freud’s attraction to archeology, and more specifically – to Rome. Similar to the qualities of this patient’s relations with his father, Freud also conceptualized his relations to Rome in terms of Oedipal qualities. The repetition of this theme in the clinic, more than a century later, in a way that connected the oedipal contents and the attraction of the ruins of ancient Rome, is discussed.