Alvarez de Toledo, Luisa Agusta Rebeca Gambier de (1915-1990)

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An Argentine doctor and psychoanalyst, Luisa Agusta Rebeca Gambier de Alvarez de Toledo was born June 13, 1915, in the 9 de Julio section of Buenos Aires, where she died on September 5, 1990. "Rebe," as she was known to her friends, expressed an interest in medicine in childhood, which led to her later studies in the capital. She discovered psychoanalysis when still a student, and became a member of the earliest psychoanalytic groups in the country, even before the creation of the Associacón Psicoanalitica Argentina (APA). Her meeting with Matilde and Arnaldo Rascovsky, through whom she became familiar with the field, led to her decision to pursue psychoanalysis as a career. Although she was not a founding member of the APA, she took an active part in the activities of the creators of the Argentine psychoanalytic movement.

She began her training analysis with Celes Cárcamo and was officially supervised by Angel Garma and Enrique Pichon-Rivière. She became a member of the APA in 1945 with the presentation of her study "A Case of Examination Neurosis," and a fellow in 1950 with the presentation of her "A Contribution to the Understanding of the Symbolic Meaning of the Circle" and "On the Mechanism of Sleep and Dreaming."

In 1946 she contributed to the creation of the first department of psychoanalytic psychiatry for adolescents at the hospital then known as the Hospicio de las Mercedes, under the direction of Enrique Pichon-Rivière and Arminda Aberastury. Between 1955 and 1958 she made regular trips to Montevideo, where she gave seminars and supervised other psychoanalysts, and in so doing contributed to the formation of the Uruguayan Psychoanalytic Association and helped train its members.

In 1954 she became a training analyst and, on this occasion presented her "Análisis del asociar, del interpreter y de las palabras" (The analysis of associating, interpreting, and words). This study, which became a classic of psychoanalytic literature, was published in the Revista de psicoanálisis in 1954 and had long-lasting influence on the evolution of the field. The author saw language as integral to psychoanalysis and showed how "the fact of speaking, as an act and independently of the content of the words, satisfies oral, anal, phallic, and genital libidinal impulses," and that "by analyzing 'the fact of associating' and 'the fact of interpreting' in itself, there arises the primitive identity of the act, the image, and the object, which is realized in the act of speaking and listening to the analyst."

Later she grew interested in the development of psychoanalytic research involving the use of hallucinogenic drugs. It was during this period that she wrote "Ayahuasca" (1960), which addressed the use of LSD in certain communities of Upper Peru. She was forced to interrupt her research when, for reasons beyond her control, the consumption of LSD was made illegal by the then current government.

Within the APA she assumed a number of important roles: secretary of the executive committee (1952-1953), treasurer (1953-1954), and president (1956-1957). She continued to assume positions of responsibility within the organization until 1972. Later in life, she turned her efforts toward providing an analytic space for several of her institutional colleagues.

Augusto M. Picollo

See also: Argentina; Language and disturbances of language.


Alvarez de Toledo, Luisa. (1954). El análisis del "asociar", del "interpretar" y de "las palabras". Revista de psicoanálisis de la Asociacíon psicoanalítica argentina, XI (3), 267-313.

. (1960). Ayahuasca. Revista de psicoanálisis de la Asociacíon psicoanalítica argentina, XVII (1), 1-9.

. (1996). The analysis of "associating," "interpreting" and "words," con comentarios de Janine Puget y María Isabel Siquier. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, LXXVII, 291-322.

Baranger, Madeleine, Baranger, Willy, and Mom, Jorge M. (1990). Obituario: Luisa Gambier de Alvarez de Toledo.Revista de psicoanálisis de la Asociacíon psicoanalítica argentina, XLVII (3), 410-413.

Mom, Jorge M., Foks, Gilda, and Suárez, Juan Carlos. (1982). Asociación psicoanalítica argentina 1942-1982. Buenos Aires: APA

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Alvarez de Toledo, Luisa Agusta Rebeca Gambier de (1915-1990)

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