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De ce psihanalistul american e un "shrink"



Ori psihiatrul, ori psihoterapeuţii în general? Am aflat o explicaţie etimologică pentru acest ciudat, frapant apelativ pe blogul Oxford University Press USA, semnată Anatoly Liberman. După cum se vede, cuvântul este în fapt foarte adecvat, indicând ideea de structurare psihică în psihoterapie, pe cea de setting şi - foarte plastic - pe cea de creştere a capacităţii de autoconţinere:
At one time, the word headshrinker designated a headhunter who preserved and shrank the heads of his (and her? their?) enemies. Later, slang transferred this name to psychiatrists, apparently, with reference to their ability to mitigate or set limits to and thus “shrink” deranged persons’ ravings. Still later, headshrinker, now only slang, was shortened to headshrink and joined such grammatically ambiguous compounds as toothpick (it is unclear whether pick is a verb or a noun in it; from a historical point of view it is a noun, but compare toothpicker, also registered in dictionaries) and regular combinations of nouns and verbs, like hoodwink, for instance. Finally, headshrink itself shrank, and, given the popularity of psychoanalysis, especially in the fifties, the remainder of the noun narrowed its field of application and came to mean “psychoanalyst.”

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