After the formulation of a definition of the concept of intimacy the article explains how it is part of the essential nature of psychoanalysis. As with empathy it is good to differentiate a concept of friendly intimacy from a "psychoanalytic intimacy". The intimacy is not a confidential condition but a constitutive relational condition into the professional action that is generated within the psychoanalytic process.
Intimacy is not intended as a tool or a static value but a mood that is present in the analytical field, depending by the variations of the setting and the psychoanalytic process. Three main variables are identified in the analytic process respect of the concept of intimacy; fluctuating attention, the transference and countertransference relationship, the concept of distance-closeness in technique. The contribution highlights the influence of these variables into the history of psychoanalytic technique and into the different currents of thought within psychoanalysis.
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic setting, theory of psychoanalytic technique, history of psychoanalysis.