LACAN AND PSYCHOANALYTIC PRACTICE
Rómulo Lander [Caracas]
Jacques Lacan began his psychoanalytical production in 1936 with the presentation in the International Congress of Marimbad of his pioneer paper on the Mirror Stage. But it was not until 1949 in the International Psychoanalytical Congress of Zurich when his work received special attention [Lacan, J. 1949].
The psychoanalytical community around the world would take some years in recognize the originality and the importance of Lacan ideas. Lacan produce must of his work in a lapse of 40 years. His teachings were going to be fundamentally oral, daring, novel and subversive. As we know his teaching was to be developed in his celebrated public Seminars. These Seminars were delivered once a week during the noon hours, in a variety of places in Paris, as it were the different obstacles imposed to the diffusion of his ideas. Lacan teaching questioned with solid logical and novel arguments the official psychoanalytic ideas that prevailed in the fifties. In those times, very close to the post-war years, the ideas of Anna Freud, who was not only the daughter, but was also the heiress of Sigmund Freud’s legacy, simultaneously with what was then called the Ego Psychology movement, dominated the analytic scene in America and in many places of Europe. Lacan insisted that the psychoanalysis they promoted was dangerously close to become psychoanalysis of consciousness. If this trend continued, it will mislead the essence of the original Freudian psychoanalysis, which was in fact based in his monumental discovery of the unconscious mental processes. For that reason Lacan always said that his teaching consisted in a return to Freud.
The written work of Lacan was always very difficult to get. His voice recorded seminars, began to be unrecorded in the late 1950’s then home printed and then circulated in a clandestine fashion. Some seminars up to this day don’t have an official version. These seminars are un-recorded, home multi-copy printed, in several languages, and then circulated in the same clandestine fashion until today. Many insist that these clandestine texts, un-recorded in anonymous form, testify the true thought of Lacan. They say that they are the texts that have not suffered amendments, neither change to the original thought. The first official text of the Seminars appears in 1973. This publication occurred with Lacan authorization when he was 72 years of age. This seminar was titled: <Four fundamental concept of Psychoanalysis> [Volume 11, 1964]. This text was unrecorded again and was officially corrected by Jacques Alan Miller, who would become, after Lacan had passed away, the literary executor in charge of un-recording and correcting their remaining seminars. They are foreseen, for its official publication, more than 15 new volumes, from a total of 24 that will pick up the oral teaching created along the years in his public Seminars. The complete non-official Seminars are already circulating in a clandestine fashion.
The publication of Lacan book called <Ecrits> presented in two volumes is another matter. The Ecrits are texts that had been carefully prepared along the years by Lacan himself. These texts were to be presented in several master conferences and are more enigmatic and of difficult reading than the un-recorded seminars. The first volume of his Ecrits appears in November 15, 1966 when Lacan is 64 years of age. This work had Francois Wahl’s insistent and careful collaboration as his editor, and it has some additional comments by Jacques Alain Miller. Immediately this publication became an editorial success. Hundred of thousands of copies of the pocket edition have been sold. Many estimate that half of the work of Lacan has not still been published today.
Lacan began to train analyst steaming from different types of professions, such as mathematician, philosophers, psychologist, and psychiatrist. They were train to put in practice his novel ideas. Today the Lacanian School of psychoanalysis has many analytical practitioners in Europe, North America and South America. In addition to their analytic practice, they have been successful in producing an abundant post-Lacan theoretical and technical written material. Undoubtedly the death of Lacan has not stopped the intense creative impulse.
The interesting and challenging thing of all this is, that those teachings of Lacan, have been successfully transmitted to psychoanalysts that don’t call themselves Lacanian, neither are not members of any Lacanian institution. This clandestine transmission, outside their closed quarters, was something their followers sturdily opposed for many years, without success. They feared that their theories were going to be blended and mixed with other currents psychoanalytical theories. But it happened that despite all this obstacles and secrecies, many analysts acquire knowledge of the teachings of Lacan. Those analysts are free from any obligation with any institutional commitment. These independent knowledgeable analysts, can freely and publically, agree or disagree, with some Lacanian proposals and ideas. They even could publically disagree with institutional decisions regarding administrative issues of the Ecole Freudien or the new Ecole, without putting in danger a membership that they don’t have.
Even in the powerful International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA) of which Lacan was used to be an important member, an Association of which he was excluded, has many analysts, that seriously study his teachings. In this way the ideas of Lacan have influenced the whole psychoanalytic community. The IPA exclusion of Lacan had a paradoxical effect on him: In one hand he suffers personally this exclusion, but on the other, he was liberated of institutional bureaucratic restrictions and also stimulated his intense creativity. An irony is that the most important barrier for the diffusion and wide acceptance of his theoretical and technical ideas, it has been the enigmatic and incomprehensible way in which Lacan presents his new ideas. It is well known that his ways of writing are not easy to understand.
The most serious opposition that Lacan innovations had face was his way he perform his analytic act. This novel way to practice psychoanalysis consisted on a significant and important modification of the analytic setting.
Lacan didn’t comply with the fifty minutes hour. Let us clarify that the analytic setting with a fixed time that rules both members of the analytic couple is something very important for the theory of psychoanalytic technique in the IPA. Lacan insist in the freedom of making an interruption, anytime during the analytic session. He could stop the session when the flowing of the unconscious of the analysand indicates that it should be stop. So the session could be stop arbitrarily by the analyst. The session would last until the analyst said so. It is an analyst’s decision. He insisted that this unexpected and arbitrary interruption was to become to the analysand: a new signifier. It is something the analysand should decipher. This was and still is something unacceptable for the technical parameters of the IPA. Therefore Lacan was forced to continue his teaching elsewhere.
He decided to initiate a new psychoanalytic institution in Paris in 1962. This new organization that would be governed by his new teachings was to be called: Ecole Freudien.
As an very fertile analyst with important novel ideas the teaching of Lacan has left an effect in the practice of those analysts that had studied his teachings, inside and outside of his Ecole.
In general we can say that all psychoanalytical theory has implications and effect in the clinical practice. Personally I am a psychoanalyst member of the IPA. An analyst that had been a studious of Lacan, which in an independent manner, had spent more than twenty five years studying his work. His teachings have modified, I believe for my benefit, the way to exercise my analytic act. I always like to affirm clearly that I respect the setting of the fifty minutes hour. To me it is a useful and necessary way to work. I also insist in the idea that the theory taught by Lacan, have many other implications in the practice of psychoanalysis. Now I will present to you, in an abbreviated fashion, some other effects and implications that some theories of Lacan and from some others post-Lacanian theorist, had produced in the current practice of psychoanalysis.
Effects produced by:
1 New clinical structural theory
2 Logic of the cause
3 Direction of the cure
4 The analyst’s place theory
5 The analyst’s position theory
6 Ethics of Psychoanalysis theory
7 Sense of interpretations theory
8 Sense of Transference theory
9 Semblance and Object-(a) theory
10 Sense of symptom theory
11 Types of analytics act carried out by the analyst
12 Traversing [crossing] Phantom theory
13 Jouissance theories: Effects in the analytic practice
14 Theory of the analytic end
1 New clinical structural theory
Lacan distinguished himself by introducing all along his advance psychoanalytical proposals a convincing philosophical and mathematical architecture. When he outlined the constitution of the subject [Lacan, J. 1955] and his three orders <RSI> [Lacan, J. 1975] Lacan had found inspiration in the originals works of the structuralist and French anthropologist Levi-Strauss. Also in the advance thinking that had made a hundred years earlier the German philosopher G. W. Hegel. When outlining the Lambda Graph and the Desire graph, Lacan introduces what we could call a third topic in psychoanalysis. The first two topics were Freudian [Freud, S. in 1895 and in 1923]. The most important novelty in this new structuralist third topic occurred, when the proposal of the <constitution of the subject>, was based in the logic of the Phallus. When Lacan introduces this logic, he is introducing a new possibility to re-order the unconscious clinical structures.
Lacan intends in this way to re-order the Psychoanalytic clinic in three mayor unconscious structures: Neurotic, Psychotic and perverse. Each one of them will have an ample theorization with convincing mathematical propositions expressed in matemas, algorithms and graphs. The most important thing is that this conception introduces in technique certain precautions in the moment to analyze these different structures. That is to say, that these theorizations will have effects in our psychoanalytical practice. It means that certain precaution should be taken when analyzing a neurotic structure that can manage the concept of the lie, and others precautions when analyzing a stabilized psychotic structure, that cannot slip the signifier, nor handle metaphors. The neurotic will relate to the analyst, in transference, in a way different from the stabilized psychotic. Therefore knowing these structural theoretical ideas of Lacan, in relation to the clinical entities, will influence and change the way we handle this analysand in our analytic practice.
2 logic of the cause
Freud introduces early in his work the concept of <complementary series> (Freud, S. 1894). In this theoretical proposal we find that the cause or the etiology of any mental dysfunction: <is not a single cause> but the sum of different etiological factors.
All these different factors result from adding pathological experiences that can be ordered from the structural point of view in three fundamental items (Lander, R. 2004):
(a) The psychic trauma
(b) The psychic Conflict
(c) The psychic defect
These three factors or <causes> supplemented one another. That is to say they are not mutually excluding, therefore they are complementary factors. They are also universal factors, since us all in the <constitution of the psyche> have something of these three factors. From a psychoanalytical point of view it would be necessary to specify the characteristic of each one of these concepts. It is necessary to wonder for the nature of the Trauma, of the conflict and of the defect. But here we will only refer to the effects that these etiological concepts have in the practice of the psychoanalysis.
In the analytic cure we will be able to progress through gaining conscience of the consequences of the diverse traumas and conflicts of the infantile neurosis. The subject will be able to grant new signifiers to the repressed elements that are now remembered. Lacan affirms that the re-signification is possible. In this way of the subjective re-signification, the funding psychic representations are modify. By modifying this foundational representation, the ideal system will also change. The modification of the ideals systems: <Ego-ideal>: characteristic of the imaginary order and the <Ideal-the-Ego>: characteristic of the symbolic order will produce important psychic transformations. This may and will re-order the handling of the sexual and death drives. This is due to a truly modification of the unconscious censorship.
When a particular subject bears a <pathology of emptiness or so called structural hole >, something which is produced from a structural deficit, it happens that these subjects can not be repaired. These subjects will have to learn how to live with that interior hole. This awareness can be achieved in analysis. The effect of this theoretical concept in the practice of psychoanalysis consists in the analyst been aware that the intense transference established in the analysis, relieve and alleviates the anxiety of emptiness and the feeling of the hole in this type of analysand. The analysand had plugs (seal off) the psychic defect, with an identification to the analyst. While this transference and the identification is present, the emptiness and the anxiety of the analysand will be alleviated or absent. The important thing is to know that this analysis is a <endless type of analysis>. If the analysand finds another identification object that seal off the psychic defect, then the analysand will leave the analysis, since its relief has been found in another place, such as a religious, political, or drugs related sects. Something that will allow a strong and permanent transference with a idealize object.
3 Direction of the cure
The mental material the analyst use in his work will arise from the analysand free association. The analysand had been invited to speak freely once he has been offered confidentiality and no- judgment. Previously the analyst has been prepared and trains to fulfill this difficult and serious offer. If this invitation if taken to its end, it will points towards a kind of cure that its direction and vicissitudes will depends only on free association. The analysand begins to free associate and it guides the session to where the free associations guide him. The analyst only listens in silence and intervenes pointing out one or another aspect that refers to slips or suggested conflicts that reveal unconscious repressed desires. It is up to the analysand to listen to the analyst’s observations, and to make with it what ever is possible for the analysand to do.
Only after the decade of the 60’s when Lacan work on the Direction of the Cure began to be known [Lacan, J. 1958], and when the concept of the co-determination of the transference arises, as proposed by Heinrich Racker in South America (Racker, H. 1955), is when something new began to be present: the novel proposition that the analyst also influences the Direction of the cure. It will make a difference if the analyst remains silent or not, and depending on what the analyst says. All this will influence the transference of that particular session. With the new concept of Direction of the cure, Lacan introduces the idea that the analyst has responsibility in his analytic act, and responsibilities in the progress of the analysis. So the idea of the ethics of the psychoanalyst comes to be: Ethics of the search for truth, and ethics of well spoken word. This Lacanian idea coincides with the ideas of a very distinguished British analyst: Wilfred Bion (Bion, W. 1963).
This matter of the Direction of the cure has many consequences in the exercise of psychoanalysis. For example, if it is a psychotic stabilized structure, it is necessary to have a special care, regarding the sensitive aspects of that structure. This awareness will produce some modification in the analyst’s interventions and in the Direction of the cure. I refer to the extreme sensibility to rejection, or to do something that produces an effect of being rejected in this type of analysand, since it could unchain a psychotic episode. We should remember that these structures don’t slip the signifier. With the neurotic analysand it is different. It is necessary to be very alert to the manipulations, product of the unconscious desire of this analysand. Or to be alerts for the acting out and the passages to act (so called enactment), those are a very peculiar form of presenting in act the repressed elements (unconscious desires).
The analyst’s work does not consist in adapting the subject to society, neither to its family values, but to help the analysand be what he or she truly is: <To act in conformity with their desire> (Lacan, J. 1959). The initial demand of the analysand is one of happiness. But once the analysand goes disassembling their diverse symptoms and arising their conscience of being, the analysand realizes that it is not possible to live in this world without a certain amount of suffering, that is to say of Jouissance.
4 The analyst’s place theory
The analyst’s place is the one of a privileged listens. It is the capacity developed by the analyst during their years of training, of listening without exercising any kind of value judgment. The analyst does not censor, neither approves the production of the analysand. On the other hand we know that all psychoanalytical session will lapses under the effects of transference. It can not be otherwise. In this way the analyst will occupy diverse places during the development of the analytic cure. The analyst will occupy the place that the structure of the transference assigns him. The analyst do not place himself, he or she is placed according to the infantile history of the analysand. This transference will reveal unconscious elements of the infantile history of the analysand revived in transference. The important thing is that these unconscious elements revealed in transference, are not symbolized. Therefore they can not be expressed by way of words. It is the analyst, the one that will reveal the analysand some of this these aspects when observing them in transference. The analyst’s place is therefore that of a semblance <i(a)>. It is a privileged place where the analyst listens without making any value judgment. Even though the analyst is sometimes placed <in transference> as a implacable judge. When the analyst does not identify with the signifier offered in transference, we say that the analyst has successfully maintained the asymmetry.
5 The analyst’s position theory
When the analyst decides to intervene with his word he will make it from a certain position. It is one in which the analyst when pronouncing his word or his silence makes it from a castrated position, speaks with no-full-truth. It is the position of one special signifier: the other as castrated <s ()>. Every time that the analyst speaks, the analysand wishes that his analyst will speck with wisdom and the full-truth. In the beginning of the cure, the analysand believes that the analyst’s word will finally offer him the revealed truth, and in doing so the analysand will find happiness. The analyst has previously received in transference from the analysand the whole knowledge, plus some love or hate, the analysand want to receive. But the analyst surprises the analysand and frustrates him or her when he does not satisfy the demand, neither gives that revealed truth. Rather the analyst intervenes punctuating, questioning, interpreting and bringing the search back to the analysand inviting to continue doing with his analytic work. When the analyst speaks what is not expected, surprising the analysand, the analyst has put the analysand back to work. Back to think and to look for the lost truth inside of him or her. It is a search that always will be produced only a half truth. The irony is in that this truth has been always in the same place of the analysand and not in the analyst. For that reason the analyst, even when he interprets, he is interrogating the unconscious of the analysand. The analyst has to intervene from the position of the no-total knowledge, because knowledge is in the other one.
To occupy this analytic position is not an easy task, since the analyst has an unavoidable problem inherent to his occupation and it is that analyst knows too much. The experience of years of practice teaches him to much about himself and about the human condition. The too much knowledge is the worst weight. Why? Because to be effective in his analytic work and been able to help the analysand, the analyst has to be able to occupies his analytic position of not-knowing, and from there been able to interrogates the unconscious of the analysand. The paradox is that the knowledge accumulated by the experience of years, will become for the analyst an obstacle of daily presence in the exercise of its occupation.
6 Ethics of Psychoanalysis theory
Lacan used to say that there is no analytic act without ethics (Lacan, J. 1959). What ethics does he refer to: The ethics of psychoanalysis? the psychoanalyst’s ethics? or the ethics of the psychoanalytical institution? We have here a possible triple answer. First, the <psychoanalyst’s ethics> refers to a personal ethics. For me, following the teaching of Lacan, I consider that it is the ethics of acting in conformity with desire and the ethics of the well spoken word, and following Wilfred Bion’s teaching it consists <in being what we are>. Both authors say the same thing. Second, <The ethics of psychoanalysis> refers to the expectation that the analyst occupies his place, that corresponds to him in the cure and he speaks from the analytic position. Third, the <ethics of the psychoanalytical institution> is been defined in a deontological code, very brief and precise, that governs the correct behavior expected by the members of a given psychoanalytical institution.
Jacques Lacan in their Seminar on <Ethics> (Lacan, J. 1959) and in Seminar 15 on the <Analytic act> (Lacan, J. 1967) outlines clearly that the ethics of Psychoanalysis as been the ethics of the <search of the subject unconscious truth>. When Lacan tells us that the ethics of the analysis is <not to give in the desire> and <the subject should act in conformity with his desire> Lacan is teaching us ideas that are similar to that of Bion. We know that desire in the subject, by definition, is impossible to catch and is mute. However the effects of desire refer to the subject interior truth. Not to act in conformity with desire, it is to pass on to an imposture. In a situation with a conflict with desire, to act in conformity with the family and social demand, is like Lacan says <the betrayal to oneself>. In a technical situation like this, the ethics of the analyst is put to a test. The analyst would be outside of an ethical position, if the analyst makes an unconscious alliance with the demands and values presented to the analysand by <family and society>. Sometimes the analyst is pushed to comply with this insincere alliance by the horror founded in the repressed material coming from the analysand. The analyst is confronted with the horror of his analytic act. As I have already said, Lacan insist in saying that <there is not analytic act without ethics>. I understand he refers to the ethics of the <well spoken word> and to the <ethics of the search of the interior truth>. This is the only way the act can be analytic.
I take this opportunity to amplify and to distinguish between the place and the position of the analyst, in relation to Ethics:
(a) The ethics of the analyst’s place refers to the ethics of maintaining transference, holding it. This means that the analyst knows that he is a semblance of (small-a) for the analysand <i(a)>. His task and his ethics consist on maintaining this semblance of small-a without falling to an identification. That is to say without making symmetry. In this way the analyst maintain the semblance and also his patient’s ideal. The analyst listens without identification and without making symmetry with his analysand. If the analyst gives in, and fall to identification with the semblance, the analyst had falls in <symmetry> and in a infatuation state. He loses his analytic place and inevitably is <outside of ethics>. In that moment the analytic process has stopped. This can happens to all of us, but it is necessary we rescue ourselves from this identification. In order to accomplish this rescue operation a qualify listener is required. We need some other one that acts <in confidence> as a supervisor. This ethics of the analyst’s place includes the ethics of fulfilling the offer of confidence and a privileged listening without value judgment.
(b) The ethics of the analyst’s position refers to the ethics of the <well spoken word>. This ethics refers to the moment when the analyst decides to intervene: with his silence, with his word or with his act. If the analyst mistakenly granted to himself the place of the <one who knows> he will be located as a <s(A)>. That is to say a signifier of the complete non-castrated Other. He will speak believing that he has the truth of the analysand. From there he will interpret the analysand. This interpretation may be accurate, but the effect will seal off the search. The analysand will listen to that supposed truth that had come from his analyst <who already possesses the power granted by the transference>. Then the analysand is satisfied and will be closed (seal off). His inner search and his inner questions have been answered. The process stops. We have the additional difficulty that the interpretation is supported by suggestion.
The ethics of the <well spoken word> outlines the contrary: The analyst intervenes and says little and <from where he is not expected>. What ever he said is not expected by the analysand. He Intervenes without having the truth of the analysand, he speaks from a castrated position <s()>. The analyst punctuate, point, asks <the analytic question> and invite to a new search of that interior truth that will be <half found> by the analysand inside himself. The same thing proposes Bion. Lacan coincides with him and said: in the analytic cure there will be a moment for the analysand of a <ethical crisis>. It is a moment of truth. It is the moment where the analyst and the analysand can back off in the face of the horror of the analytic act. The horror of what have been revealed to them. If the analyst doesn’t hold, sustain or maintain <his anxiety> in the face of the horror, the cure stops. The analysis will continue, the work will continue in a different track <in the imposture> of the analyst. If the analysand doesn’t support the horror of that revealed <unconscious elements revealed>, he won’t be able to resignify his early identifications: <his original guarantors> and the transformation moment will have gotten lost. The analysis finishes, without arriving to its end. In that case we say that <the subject didn’t act in conformity with his desire>.
7 sense and use of the interpretation:
Their effects in analytical practice
The interpretation aspires to reveal to the analysand some new knowledge, something that has been ignored until that moment since it has been repressed and unconscious. It is preferable that the interpretation should be brief and that it points out an idea to the analysand. The analyst’s silence and the analytic questions may have an interpretative effect, since they could help the repressed to arise. The interpretation is the most important instrument of the analyst during the analytic cure. But it is not the only one. The analyst listening without exercising value judgment, the catharsis, the analytic question, the attentive silence, the analytic clarification and the analytic continence (so called holding) these are the most valuable after the interpretation. The interpretation consists on the words that are pronounces by the analyst as a consequence of what has been understood about the mental life of the analysand revealed in the free association of the analysand. This understanding is also based on what is revealed in transference, were some repressed aspects of childhood are silently manifested.
One of the contributions of Lacan to the theory of interpretation refers to the scarce effect that historical-genetic interpretation may have in the cure. These are those interpretations where the analyst believes to know the relationship that exists between certain facts of the past and the current symptoms or difficulties of the analysand. Lacan was always in disagreement with this practice. Lacan preferred to point out, to punctuate, or to question the analysand on some possible connection. From there on it was the work of the analysand to find a sense to what was pointed out. The equivocal interpretations are the most effective since they invite the analysand to decipher them. Lacan always insisted that the interpretation that are capable of producing psychic change can be effective only inside a given psychic structure, since a structure can not be change from one to another. The psychic transformations occur only in relation to certain aspects or psychic mechanisms of a certain clinical structure (intra-structural change).
All the interpretations arise from the transference registered by the analyst. The effect of any interpretation can arrive to a limit. That is to say, that the interpretation may arrive to a point of depletion or draining, it is when they have ceased of being effective. To surpass that point of the interpretation ineffectiveness, a special act is been required. Generally it comes from the analysand, (as facing a phobia) but it can sometimes come from the analyst. The <analyst in act> is different to the <act of the analyst>. There are moments during the analytic process where it is indicated to interpret nothing. They are moments where the interpretation may produce damage (iatrogenic effect). These are the moments when the analyst should use another instrument, like continence offered by the holding of the analyst, or the simple analytic listening without falling to identification with the analysand, and maintaining the asymmetry, without any moral judgment on the part of the analyst.
8 Transference: Effects in the analytical practice
Lacan said that transference is <the unconscious been put in act> [Lacan, J. 1960]. All psychoanalytical session will lapse under the effects of transference. It can not be otherwise. During the development of the analytic process the analyst will occupy diverse places in the psyche of his analysand. The analyst will occupy the place that the structure of the transference assigns to him.
When a demand for analysis arises due to the presence of some psychic suffering or the presence of a symptom, the patient that is not yet a analysand present a demand to the other, some one that is suppose to bear knowledge. The patient grants the analyst a knowledge and with this a special power. That place of knowledge, where the analyst is conceived by the patient as a very wise and qualified person able to alleviate his suffering, bringing tranquility and happiness. The analyst appears in this way to bear the whole truth. The analytic technique expect from him to occupies that supposition place of knowledge assigned by transference, and that it sustains (maintain) with his silence and attentive listening the patient’s discourse. To sustain (maintain) the invitation to associate freely and to be listened in confidence, without censorship, neither judgment, will contribute to place this attentive listener in a special (transferencial) place.
9 Semblance and the Object-a theory [small-a]
Effects in the analytical practice
The theory of the <object-a> is the only original contribution that Lacan said he to have made to psychoanalysis. This refers to a type of very special object that comes from, the early experiences of the subject with the other [infantile, maternal experience]. Of that experience that has drive investiture (catexia) it will be an unconscious rest that will be incorporated in the early structural constitution of the subject. That rest will be lost forever, but it will always be looked for and never found. Those rests (object lost) are partial fragments of the body (the éclats) that can be: the look, the voice, the breast or the odor, or another corporal object. It will constitute the object <causes of desire>. It is a special rest, built by each subject. It is a window (maybe the only one) that the subject has on to the Order of the Real (Lacan, J. 1955).
In fiction the subject believes he has found that lost object in the passion object of love or hate. The <object-a> becomes in this way an illusion of a perceptible object. This happens when the subject fall in passion to another, when finding it, in the other, in fiction, because it is not more than a projection. In essence this <object-a> is a topological object. It is not a partial object, neither it is a total object. It is not an internal object, neither it is an external object. It is not The Real, although it opens a window on The Real. It is the lost object, never found and always looked for. It is the object <cause of desire>. It is a fundamental element in the subject sexual phantasm. In that location [of the phantasm] the object-a: it blurred castration, calms the anxiety, and precipitates the intensity of the sexual pleasure.
It is not an object known by the subject, since it is unconscious. Lacan said: <the object of which one doesn’t have any idea>. But at the same time it is a perceptible object and recognized by the senses as been carried by the other [in fiction]. In this way the other, will show: what he or she, doesn’t have. It arises for the other as a <semblance> or also calls <a lure>. During the sexual act <object-a> is going to blurred the hopeless alterity [otherness] of the other. During the encounter of the bodies, in the sexual act, object-a [perceived in the other] will allow to live the momentary illusion of making-one [becoming-one] with the body of the other.
In seminar 15: <Analytic act> [Lacan, J. 1967] outlines that the analyst will occupy in transference the place of <semblance> that is to say the place of the <object-a>. So the analyst should be qualified, to support the weight, of the projections and the weight of transference that the analysand will carry out with the semblance. The analysts will not give in to identification with these projections. This is so because the analyst should occupy an asymmetric place of no-identifying. Therefore the analyst will then be able to speak from where he is not expected.
Some other ideas [from other kind of analysts] referred to the quality of the relationship between analysand and analyst [and vice versa]. These ideas propose that these relationships may fall within the environment of consciousness. From the point of view of consciousness, they speak of a possible relation called <working alliance> or <rapport>. They also admit that others events fall inside the realm of the unconscious. They admit transference is located there, as a phenomenon of the unconscious. On the contrary, Lacan insisted that all relationship with the other, is always an unconscious transference relationship. There is no such thing as a relationship with the other that belongs or falls into the realm of consciousness outside of transference. These theoretical ideas will have effects on the practice of psychoanalysis.
10 Sense and installation of the symptom theory
According to the teaching of medicine, a symptom is a visible, perceptible manifestation of some dysfunction or some pathology in the affected person. The illnesses are detected by their symptoms (complains) and signs (corporal evidences). The patients show their complaints (symptoms) through the word. It is an axiom that each symptom is related and is a consequence of certain type of illnesses, in such a way, that studying the symptoms and signs, it will be possible to diagnose the affection correctly. The various medical illnesses obligatorily will produce certain symptoms and signs and not others. In that way we can say, that in medicine, a symptom <is The Real>. In psychiatric clinic the symptoms are understood in a very similar fashion as in medicine. In this way the <psychiatric symptom> is fundamental to diagnose the so called <psychiatric illnesses>. These illnesses are those that will be contained in the index of diagnoses of the World Health Organization or in the American Psychiatric Association Stadistical diagnostic manuals.
In Psychoanalysis a symptom is another thing. Undoubtedly it refers to complaints, to the nuisances that the subject [of the unconscious] suffers, and it is presented to the analyst through the use of words or through the act. However their significance is very different. The symptoms <mind produced> are not bound, neither united, to any type of specific mental pathology. They are bound to mental mechanism. With the single study of the symptoms you can not end up understanding what is happening to any subject. In his famous <Rome Presentation> Lacan declares the symptom as a signifier, organized as a language in the unconscious [Lacan, J. 1953]. The symptom is an opaque message that doesn’t summon any interpretation. The <clinical> symptom is this way is a demand of help, address to the other. In the other hand the <analytic> symptom doesn’t constitute a call to the other, and in essence, this symptom is an important side of <Jouissance> directed to nobody. The symptoms for the psychoanalyst are <signifiers> product of the effect of The Real over the symbolic order. The symptom has another side in which the drive is partially satisfied. In this way we have a side of Jouissance which is something similar to suffering, and a side of drive satisfaction. The radical view of the symptom is in the function of Jouissance.
When Lacan introduces the proposition of the <RSI> he is introducing a topological proposal. For Lacan the symptom ceases to be a linguistic proposal as in 1953 and become a topological one in 1964. If we stay in the level of topography we are caught in the dialectical of the superficial location versus the deep location. According to this insufficient topographical thinking, the subject complaint is sustains and wraps up by the symptom, this would be in the surface. Their repressed unconscious elements would be in the profound, the deep location. The unconscious censorship that prohibits drive satisfaction would also be in the profound (the deep). According to this logic, the symptom as an incomplete satisfaction, would be in the surface. This view although correct in their essence is very simple and it prevents us to continue with the study of the symptom. For that reason it is necessary to introduce and to enlarge this study with the topological view. That is to say to work with the concepts of the <RSI> and it psychic structures. Here it is where these theoretical innovations of Lacan may have an effect in the psychoanalytical practice.
The symptoms are products of the psychic structures in their fight for survival, there are not manifestations of any specific illness. In this way we can have the so called hysterical symptoms, in obsessive structures and vice versa. Also we may have so called hysterical manifestations in psychotic patients and vice versa. We may have the presence of perverse or depressive features in any of the three fundamental clinical structures [Neurotic, Psychotic or perverse]. The purpose of the analysis is not the relief of the symptoms, since some symptoms will be substituted by others. The purpose of the analysis is the search <for the subject interior truth> and for this via achieving the acceptance of oneself, <to be what we are> according to saying of Bion, and <not to give in the desire> according to the proposal of Lacan.
11 Types of acts carried out by the analyst
The pure analytic act in itself is an act in which the analyst occupies the analyst place (semblance and receiver of the transference) and speaks from the position of the analyst (position of not-knowing all). From there the analyst goes every day to question the analysand by way of presenting uncertain issues that may lead to an open or imprecise interpretation. The analysand will have to decipher some meaning from it.
For this process to continue along the axis of time it will be required of the analysand a special capacity to supports the solitude and the anguish of analysis. And also, it will be required, an analyst, that supports the horror of their act [the unconscious revelations]. Each analyst’s style will offer a sense of the <proper timing> to intervene and to interpret. And a good sense to decide what things of the emergent unconscious material to ignore and what to acknowledge and work on it. Melanie Klein said that everything that produces anxiety in the analysand can be interpreted directly. Sigmund Freud said that if the patient is not prepared to assimilate and to understand our interpretation, simply the patient will ignore it. In the way of the proper timing the analysis becomes tolerable for both. However along the analytic process, the concern [anxiety] of the analyst for their patient’s well-being, may takes the analyst to carry out another type of act, that doesn’t correspond with the pure analytic act. Here I am referring to the <pedagogic act> and the <orthopedic act> done within the analytic process.
The <pedagogic act> is an act in which the analyst proceeds with words, to inform and to educate the analysand in relation to some topic of urgency. It is generally a topic that puts in danger the health, life or patrimony of the analysand or his family. We could say that the analyst had passes to be an advisor or a counselor [coaching] on a precise point of the life of the analysand. These includes serious matters that have some urgency, as risks of a unwanted pregnancy, denial of a serious health problems, presence of tumors or serious health negligence that may put the analysand life in danger. Sometimes there are obvious situations of deceit, product of denials, which threaten the personal patrimony of the analysand. These denials may be a consequence of unconscious desires to be punished, arising from unconscious guilt feelings. The analyst could point out the mechanism of denial and guilt and its consequences, as try to hide the pedagogic nature of the act, or the analyst may express in a direct form his serious concern, when this is the case <the place and position> of the analyst has been lost. This kind of situation rarely happens, but it happens. In these cases the analyst rightfully leaves his classic <analytic place and position> and passes to occupy the place of the other with knowledge, the signifier of the no-castrated other. At this moment the analyst has lost his asymmetry and has pass to a symmetrical relationship with the analysand. Later on the analyst may rescue his analyst place of been a semblance of small-a, and his position of a signifier of the other without total-knowledge [castrated].
The <orthopedic act> is an act in which the analyst, using the enormous power granted by the analysand in transference, proceeds to order or to prohibit something in particular, something that is vital or very important for the analysand. The most common thing is to act as a ego-support of the subject in moments in which the analysand believes that she or he is crumbling or collapsing in his psychic functions. This ego-support act will function as a kind of cane or as a crutch. This quality gives the name to this orthopedic type of act. We find the need to use it more in the severe narcissistic psychic structures. These structures develop intense attachment to the object of love and to the analyst as object. These structures when facing imminent or factual separation experiences (object-loss) and are in risk of metal collapse, they are ready for intense attachment to an object.
In these narcissistic structures during period of separation due to schedule vacations, intense separation anxieties will arise. If the analyst affirms them that they can tolerate the separation, offering in this way a support element, the analysand may respond positively. The analyst’s voice, via identification, will function as an orthopedics element. To hear the analyst’s voice in the phone automatic answering machine will sometimes has an orthopedic effect. In other phobic situations the analyst’s voice may well have this orthopedics support. In these cases the analyst voluntarily in a passage to act [enactment] will occupy the place of the powerful and knowledgeable complete other. It means the analyst has voluntarily given up his analytic <place and position>. Later on the analyst may rescue himself and be back in his analytic classic place and position.
As we see here, these three types of acts: analytic, pedagogic and orthopedic, may be carried out by the analyst according to the rule of the case-by-case situation without the necessity of calling his practice a psychoanalytical psychotherapy. Lacan calls it specifically: Psychoanalysis, even though the analyst may be forced some times by technical reasons, to carry out any of these acts. Therefore these ideas will have an effect in the practice of the psychoanalysis.
12 Traversing [crossing] Phantom: effects in the analytic practice
The proposal on the Phantasm appears as a defined and precise proposal only after 1957 [Lacan, J. 1957 and 1967]. With the proposition of the phantasm Lacan deepens the original proposal that Freud had made in 1895 on the nature of the <sexual fantasy> of his hysterical patients. For Freud phantasie is a representation, a scenic script, that implies one or several characters that puts in scene the subject’s sexual desire. Freud outlined the idea of the sexual fantasies as a scar of the pre-Oedipus complex. Lacan gives importance to the defensive aspect of these fantasies, in the face of castration anxiety. In the Seminar 14 (1967) titled <The Logic of Phantasm> Lacan specifies that Phantasm is of sexual nature and its main function is to <veil> castration anxiety. For this reason this phantasm will always be of a perverse nature. Lacan ends up calling phantom the <treasure of sexuality>. He also said: <it is a flower in the branch of guilt>.
The Phantom is defined as a sexual scene with a prevalence of images and with the presence of some text that has an unconscious or pre-conscious quality. Eventually it may become conscious. The phantasm puts in act the archaic sexual desire that works as a matrix for the current desire. A circular nature exists between phantasm, desire and sexual life. The unconscious phantasm may become conscious by the effect of spontaneous revelations of life or by the effect of the analytic process. The most important thing of this contribution of Lacan, regarding clinical practice, is when he affirms, that the phantom, which consist of a perverse sexual fantasy, is not a symptom, neither it does not summons any interpretation on the part of the analyst. It is not something that is there to be cured, but on the contrary is there to be enjoyed. The Phantom represents the subject’s unconscious desire. This is the same subject that can be represented in the script of the phantom.
The phantom is built by each subject in early childhood. It is an imaginary construction of images and it establishes the subjective and exclusive relationship that the subject will have with his or her <object-a>. The phantasm established an exclusive union between them both: the subject and the small-a [object-a]. It is necessary to clarify that this sexual image has some effect on the symbolic order. He said in the Direction of Cure (Lacan, 1958) that <the image is there to make an effect in the signifier structure [symbolic order]>.
The phantom will relief the subject of the unavoidable presence of the lack in the other, and offers the subject an illusion of completeness. It could also be said that the Phantom offers a relief of castration anxiety. The way each subject organizes his Phantom [always as sexual and perverse] indicates us the modality of the subject organization of his Jouissance. The Phantom satisfies both aspects: an offer of Jouissance and it sustains the desire of the subject. Lacan said in his Seminar 11 of 1964, that <in the Phantom, the subject is sustained by himself, in the dimension of the desire that vanishes>. The sexual Phantom is therefore perverse in nature, but it doesn’t have the nature of a symptom. It is an <precocious unconscious construction> and it is not modifiable.
The theory of the Phantom will have consequences and important effects in the analytic practice. If an analyst is not familiar with these Lacanian teachings, it is possible that when listening in free association the sexual fantasies of his analysand (sexual phantom), it is possible, that this analyst will takes it as a symptom that claims to be interpreted, when in fact it is a sexual Phantom that doesn’t summon any interpretation. When the analysand discovers his own Phantom and is able to enjoy it, then it is said that that the analysand had crossed (traverse) the phantom.
13 Theory of Jouissance: Effects in the analytic practice
The theory of the Jouissance is introduced in psychoanalysis by Lacan in the decade of the sixties during his seminar on <Ethics> [Lacan, J. 1959]. This innovation represents a very important contribution to psychoanalysis since it will allow us to advance in the study of psychic suffering. We think that the subject can not escape from the necessity of suffering [Lacan, J. 1960, Lander, R. 1996 and 2004]. The idea is that after childhood, in order to maintain their psychic balance, the subject needs some amount of suffering.
Regarding suffering it is necessary and useful to distinguish the Freudian theory of moral masochism [suffering], from the Lacanian theory of Jouissance [suffering]. When studying some particular cases with high stanchion of suffering, we find that they don’t correspond to the Freudian classic masochism. That is to say, we don’t find indications of unconscious guilt feelings. However the permanent search for ways of achieving suffering stays present. Lacan introduces its theory of the Jouissance as a structural phenomenon of which no human being can escape.
Following Freud, Lacan outlines that Jouissance is something implicit in the logic of the drives. It is something located in Freud ideas expressed in beyond the pleasure principle (Freud, S. 1920). According to Lacan every subject would have a stanchion of Jouissance in their daily life. This Jouissance is located beyond pleasure that is to say as a special form of carousal in suffering. When the stanchion of enjoyment is high the analysand will present something similar to a depressive clinic: a situation of life that inevitably drives to suffering, an inability to solve the situation, because in the bottom line the analysand doesn’t want to solve it. The paradox shows us a desire for not continue living in that way, but they continue in doing the same things (so the analysand feels trap), sometimes they cry some other times they don’t and they may show an intermittent interference with feeling of happiness in living. The childhood history of that type of analysand reveals the presence of serious difficulties in the first years of alive. We find their history has abandonment, lacks and serious losses. Sometimes they present histories of traumas of war, death and poverty. Sometimes parents’ traumatic separations (divorce) with affective abandonment. Some other times, they present serious parent drug addiction, or parents’ serious mental pathology. This panorama of early childhood introduces a daily stanchion of suffering that is inscribed in the subject’s structuring. By chance, called by Lacan <the tyche>, some other people may have in their childhood history an amount of suffering that is smaller. The important thing is that this Jouissance [certain delight in suffering] is necessary for their psychic balance. Therefore it is not a symptom and it can not be cured: it is something structural, it is called Jouissance.
Many of this analysand during the analytic process acquires some knowledge about themselves. This may open new opportunities to a better live, they rescue much of their capacity for pleasure located in their sexual life, but they are not able to overcome their necessity for suffering (Jouissance). Their necessity for Jouissance has been a part of their psychic balance. It is useful to clarify that these analysand doesn’t present a dynamics of hate to the object, neither to themselves. They don’t present a decrease of their self-esteem. It is Jouissance. It is neither a depressive nor a masochistic state. This idea opens an important view for understanding suffering. It allows us to understand that the objective of the analysis is not to eliminate the subject’s suffering. The subject will modify the suffering coming from his moral masochism, but it will always conserve a stanchion of suffering coming from Jouissance. These represent an effect that this theory has on the psychoanalytical practice.
14 Theory of the analytic End
It is necessary to specify the difference that exists between interruption, termination and end of analysis. The interruption will refer to the simple interruption for any reason: resistances, moving away or psychoanalytic impasses. Termination refers to the desire of finishing, aware that they are still many incongruities in its current life. But the analysand wants to finish and the analyst agrees: the analysis arrives to a termination, without arriving to the end. The end of analysis is generally: a theoretical end. It refers to arrive <to be what we are>. This is something that demands so much sacrifice from the analysand that most can not consent to that. They conform to certain transactions with family and social values, in which they will spend their lives (Lander, R. 2004). So they terminate without achieving an end.
Regarding <termination> and <end> of analysis: Its is useful to revise several aspects of the analytical process: (a) Place of Jouissance in the moment of termination (b) Traversing the Phantasm and their significance in the analytic end. (c) The problem of the identification with the analyst during the cure and in the end. (d) Destination of post-analytic effects.
(a) To my understanding as I have already said, the theory of Jouissance offers something new to the understanding of human suffering. It is not a symptom, it is not a Phantasm. It is something structural that doesn’t summon to any cure. Each subject has his necessary [minimal] mounts of suffering for the maintenance of his psychic balance. This suffering called by Lacan Jouissance, expressed by the analysand during the conclusion of the analysis, doesn’t constitute a symptom and hopefully will be understood in this way by the analysand.
(b) Traversing the Phantom: The theory of the <sexual phantom> in the analytic cure has its importance in the way the analyst will understand and will work these sexual and erotic fantasies of the analysand. A hundred years ago in the beginnings of psychoanalysis the acceptance of the vicissitudes of the sexual life was not an easy thing. To distinguish what was accepted, from what is not accepted, in sexual behavior, created serious discrepancies and problems. Today despite all the progresses in science and culture, progress in psychoanalytic theory and in tolerance regarding diversity of the sexual life, we may said that some or perhaps many analytical colleagues approaches this sexual issues with a moralist way of thinking and not with the new knowledge of culture and science. When the logic of the phantom is presented in clinical presentations, I have observed some resistances in colleagues, to accept the legitimate variations and diversity of sexual life. Sometimes they hurry to qualify as pathological certain sexual behaviors that are nothing more than a sexual phantom of a subject [unconscious]. During the analysis when modifying the ideals and censorship, the Phantom becomes a part of sexual life. If the analyst considers pathological these perverse sexual fantasies, then the analyst will treat them as a neurotic symptom, and will try to interpret them with the hope that they will disappear. If the analyst, on the contrary, considers that this perverse sexual fantasy is a treasure of sexuality, then the analyst won’t treat it as a symptom, and it doesn’t require any interpretation. The analysand learns about his or her phantom and how to enjoy it. In this way, according to the analyst’s theory, the sexual phantom will be approached in a different way with different consequences.
In the eighties, it was said, that when the analysand had been able to know and accept their sexual phantom [to cross or traverse it] this was mistakenly considered then as an indicator for finishing their analysis. Today it is considered very important crossing [traversing] the sexual phantom. Actual criteria consider termination as something different: <to insist in the desire> and <to be what we are>.
(c) Identification with the analyst in the cure: Is the <identification with the analyst> a healing factor in the cure? Or on the contrary, it is an illusory aspect of the cure? Can we distinguish between: The identification with the analyst, from the identification with the analytic function? The thesis of the identification with the analytic function considers that this identification with the function facilitates the insight capacity of the analysand. I agree with this idea and I am of the opinion that it is unavoidable during the analytic cure that the analysand identified with diverse signifiers of the analyst (Lander, R. 2004).
Let us don’t forget that the patient remains as patient [not as an analysand] when the subject is believe that help and relief will come from the other [the analyst] ‘the one who knows’. This subject will become an analysand, when this subject discovers that understanding will come from oneself. Not from the other. This makes it possible for the analysand to install a symptom. It means to focus on researching and understanding his o her own symptom: to question themselves. Then the analysand is ready to move to the couch. It is when the analysand opens up to the possibility of discovering the ignored <the unconscious contents>. In a beginning of the cure the analysand (then only a patient) looked for a relief, deceptively, it is placed in the analyst: this analyst is supposed to be knowledgeable. For this particular reason the patient initially search and chooses that particular wise analyst. It transference this believing, is call in French: SSS <subject-suppose-to know> [in English SSK]. It is an unavoidable transferencial phenomenon of the imaginary order (narcissistic). As the theoretical end of the analysis approach, the wise and knowledgeable analyst (the one who beard the phallus), fall totally and the analyst appears in transference like unwise, castrated and no more phallic. Wilfred Bion said that the analyst’s destination, at the end of the analysis, is to become a waste [trash]. In this topic of the analytic end, Bion and Lacan coincide in their proposals. None of them considers that the analytic end is when the analysand finally identified with the idealized analyst on the contrary, it occurred when the analyst has become a waste.
During the analytic cure the analysand may identify with certain signifiers of the analyst. For example with the signifiers taken from the analyst’s ideals that the analysand had deciphers through the analyst’s interpretations: reading among lines. This will produce certain changes in the operation of the analysand Superego. These changes in the Superego will open the way to acquire or to increase, the capacity for insight. This phenomenon coincides with the proposal of the Kleinian analysts regarding the identification with the analytic function.
Something very different happens with the mechanism of the identification with the analyst, in which discrimination between self and object and the asymmetric relationship is totally lost. This mechanism offers a fragile cure, without sustentation. It may be considered as a transference cure. However the improvements achieve by the identification with the analyst is very surprising and dramatic. Similar to those changes taken place with the phenomenon of the hypnosis. But I repeat, they are not sustained in time because they are artificial and they don’t steam from a discovery process and interior change. Lacan outlines that the analyst and the analysand establishes a relationship that is <asymmetric> opening a space for the analytic act. This doesn’t mean that during the cure other properly non analytic moments occurred (symmetrical), as when we have a <pedagogic> moment or the <orthopedic> moment.
(d) Post-analytic effects: The post-analytic effects will be considered important or irrelevant according to the analyst’s theory [Lander, R. 2004]. The concept of those post-analytic effects gets complicated when the discussion of the difference between terminations versus end of analysis is open up. This imposes the need to specify the theoretical concept of <analytic end>. We all know that the concept of termination of analysis will nor be guided by the simple cure of the symptom, nor the capacity to work and joy. The structural theory outlines that the theoretical will come when the subject accepts <to be what he or she is>, also the subject has cross [traverse] the phantom, and has accepted his <limitation and incompleteness> of been.
The post-analytic effects are related with the destination of transference. In transference at the end of the analysis, the analyst stops to occupy the place of the <Subject-suppose-to know> (SSK), and this place is occupied by a limited and incomplete subject. We say that at the end of the analysis, the analysand has accepted their castration (symbolic and imaginary). The analysand had also accepted his more genuine character traits (Lacan, 1976). This means that accepts without conflict, neither guilty feeling the indelible marks of childhood that have passed to the formation of character. This is possible, only when, in the course of the analysis, the ideal’s system has been modified. These theoretical positions of the end of analysis settle with the variations of the case-by-case as a post-analytic effect.
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