“The String and the Abyss – uni-dimensionality  in autistic states”


The paper focuses on the issue of the absence of representation of an internal space, in the realm of uni-dimensionality. The case of a young autistic child in the first years of analysis is described as an illustration of how the challenge of the perception of external space is used to overcome precipitation anxiety linked to the experience of falling. The girl’s autistic defenses and deficits consisted first in keeping herself in a liquid state and later in denying gravity by means of controlling her compact body in the space of the analyst’s room. Her mouth was experienced as a hole to be completely blocked with food and the pacifier, hindering her interchanges with the analyst.  The compulsive use of strings in her activities revealed at the same time the search for links and her difficulty to make real connections and establish communication. 

Dr. Vera Regina Fonseca

 is a psychiatrist, a training and supervising psychoanalyst of the Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of São Paulo. Her PhD thesis focused on Interpersonal relationships in Autistic Disorders: a psychoanalytic and ethologic interdisciplinary approach. Her post-doctorate research, in 2007, was a Comparative Study of mother-infant interaction in postpartum depression. Between 2012-2016 she was chair of the scientific department of the Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of São Paulo and between 2016-2020 she was director of training of the Brazilian Psychoanalytic Society of São Paulo. She has been the coordinator of INSPIRA (International Symposium for Psychoanalytic Interregional Research on Autistic Disorders) since its creation, in 2008. She has been a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Psycho-Analysis since 2012. She is author of several scientific papers and book chapters.