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Lacan's Clinical Technique

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How do psychoanalysts act during analysis? When does treatment start? How long does a session or treatment last? How much does it cost? What does analytical interpretation entail? What is the final aim of analysis? These are the main issues Antonio Quinet addresses for clinical psychoanalysts and students in training.This is not a do-it-yourself book or a step-by-step manual for, but rather an examination of Freudian and Lacanian techniques based on psychoanalytical theory and ethics.The ideas examined are grounded in the structure of subjectivity, and the basic assumption that analysts have taken their own analysis to the end. It is from thereon that the will have the analysts desire as a practicla tool for their own clinical practice. Antonio Quinet's contribution regarding the start of treatment comes from his updated examination of Freudian concepts through Lacanian mathemes. This approach has made this books first version a best seller in Brazil, with over 30,000 copies sold.The author examines Freuds initial conditions: the trial period (renamed by Lacan as "preliminary interviews"), couch use, handlign of time, and treatment fees. Finallly, he describes and theorizes on what analysts do behind the couch: the act in the role of the semblant of object a and analytical interpretation.Lacans concept of semblant closely bonds theatre and the analytical act and his concept of lalangue does likewise with poetry and analytical interpretation. Quinet's approach closely reflect the relationship between psychoanalysis and performing arts.

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Prelude to the Afternoon of an Analyst

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PRELUDE TO THE AFTERNOON OF AN ANALYST

But where and how is the poor wretch to acquire the ideal qualifications which he will need in his profession? The answer is, in an analysis of himself, with which his preparation for his future activity begins.

—“Analysis Terminable and Interminable”, Sigmund Freud

This is not a do-it-yourself book or a step-by-step manual for psychoanalysts. You will not find any easy recipes or a tidy formulaic and prescriptivist approach to Lacanian praxis. Each of the chapters herein is an autonomous essay that can be read independently or studied as a separate unit from the others.

Psychoanalytical technique is grounded in and subordinated to the structure of subjectivity and psychoanalytical ethics. The main treatment guideline is getting the analysand to speak and plunge into free association. This golden rule of psychoanalysis stands above all others. Nevertheless, Freud highlighted some key “initial conditions” such as tentative treatment (preliminary interviews), use of the couch, and the handling of time and money. Accordingly, Lacan lays down a transference strategy as semblant and interpretation tactics as poetical. Nonetheless, hovering far above these initial considerations is the analyst's own analysis—the key prerequisite for effective psychoanalysis. This book is an overview of the Lacanian concepts related to analytic practice and a summation of my own thoughts as a clinical practitioner.

 

I. The Analyst's Discourse

ePub

I

THE ANALYST'S DISCOURSE

 

Freud listed three impossible professions: governing, educating, and analysing. All are limited by a real and unendurable structural resistance that makes the tasks of the professions practically a hopeless case. Those ruled find their governors unbearable whereas students refuse to submit to teachers and analysands resist analysis. It is also impossible to perform these tasks satisfactorily because there is always something lurking in the background that threatens to disrupt these professions. People are unruly, students are unteachable, and analysands are always ungrateful as they refuse to improve from analysis. Lacan formulated the discourses to represent the social bonds inherent in these impossible missions:

• The Master's discourse (MD) corresponds to ruling over people.

• The University discourse (UD) corresponds to educating people.

• The Analyst's discourse (AD) corresponds to analysing people.

Lacan further discovered yet another social bond which stems from clinical practice: the Hysteric's discourse (HD), whose purpose is to provoke desire or that which makes someone desire something (faire désirer). Lacan dignified hysterical neurosis by promoting it to the level of a social bond. HD is also the analysand's discourse.

 

II. Conditions for Analysis

ePub

II

CONDITIONS FOR ANALYSIS

 

My aim now is to “call up to the witness stand” that set of “psychoanalytical rules” conventionally known as “the setting” starting from Freud's “On Beginning the Treatment” (1913c), where we find them under the heading conditions. Freud describes the necessary conditions or prerequisites for treatment that analysts must deal with: the experimental or trial period before signing the patient on, length of sessions/treatment, fees and use of the couch, which are all integral parts of the analytical technique. Thereafter, Freud writes: “The conditions of treatment having been regulated in this manner, the question arises at what point and with what material is the treatment to begin?” (Freud, 1913c, p. 134). These are Freud's default settings or basic preconditions (Bedingungen).

It goes without saying that prerequisites are necessary starting conditions rather than rules or norms imposed by Freud, since he holds that the only rule for analysis is free association, which represents the answer to the question regarding the beginning of treatment.

 

III. The Art of the Analyst

ePub

III

THE ART OF THE ANALYST

 

Clinical Lacanian technique entailed the handling of transference and a strategy of interpretation, first, in the field of language (since 1958) and then in the field of jouissance (since 1970). From his earliest days, Lacan separated psychoanalysis as a domain from science, psychology, and medicine. The analyst's task must be elevated to the status of art. Freud often compared psychoanalysis with art and proposed that analysts follow in the artist's footsteps, because the latter has always been a pioneer in unveiling the mysteries of subjectivity. In this part of book, I want to link the handling of transference and the strategy of interpretation with theatre and poetry.

Lacan approaches the field of language for analytical technique in “Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” regarding power, tactics, strategy, and policy. In the 1940s and 1950s, psychoanalysis had turned into ego psychology and even “human engineering”. Lacan's task was highlighting speech in analysis and developing these two acts (transference handling and interpretation) within his framework of the linguistically structured unconscious. The first thing analysts must do is relinquish power—that power created by the analysand's transference.

 

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