Jumat, 16 Juli 2010

From Freudian Symptoms to Lacanian Sinthom #2

5°) ”The Subjective Rectification”

At this stage proper care should be taken in assimilating the symptom to the oedipal structure or to the setting up of the Father’s Name, as it is always the case. If these statements can be conceived as the outcome of the post psycho-analytical work or of the trial of psycho-analytical symptom construction, they can quickly become stigmatising notions just like diagnosis procedures used by the medical or psychiatric circles. The risk remains with exempting the psychoanalyst from this preliminary work of the construction by making it as if only standard and graded symptoms are analysable compared to the imaginary model (and unrealistic) of what should be the demand in psycho-analysis or the relationship with the symptom.

While some clinicians are concerned with transforming the analysis’s demand or treatment and lamenting the fact that they no longer keep to their initial expectations, the question is whether it is due to the real transformation of the subjective modalities which structure the subjects of our societies or on the contrary, whether this does not come from the refusal to do this preliminary work to which lacan gave a precise name i.e. “rectification of the subject’s relations with the real" [1]

It is at this “subjective rectification” stage that we should struggle to make our patient to realise that he/she actively contributes in the formation and the perpetuation of the symptoms or the situation of which he/she is complaining. In order for the work to be achieved, the subject should at least accept to be partly responsible for this danger which is firstly interpreted as if coming from the outside or from the reality.

Lacan states that the subjective rectification is dialectic and in order to reach it, we must start with the subject’s sayings. Which means that, interpretation cannot be exact inspite of it being an interpretation.

It is clear that it is not the matter of a theoretical presentation which is done to the patient to inform or teach him/her of the unconscious’s theory, but it is about a closer intervention to the interpretation, without necessarily being exact because by definition, it operates prior to the establishment of the transference.

Furthermore, he noted that this is the threshold of the way to cover with the Other. Because the transference has already done its duty, showing that it is a matter of another thing rather than the relations of the self with the rest of the world

I take this expression, ”the way to cover with the Other”. The fact that the later should hold on in order to open the way for the analytical interpretation to take place also includes the fact that it should be done thoroughly in the analytical process. There is a long way to cover with the Other. In other words, taking this phase into account as Freud and Lacan propose implies conceiving in a broader and open manner the conditions of analysis’ possibilities, or “indications” of the analysis as earlier stated.

It is this particular point that seems to be neglected in the theory as it is often presented, and maybe it is even worse in practice. Presently, I assume that the way to cover with the Other could be longer, more costly and also difficult for the analyst, but at the end of this path the conditions for a possible analysis could be found.

It looks like the numerous demands under the pretext that they are not outrightly “rectified”, in a degraded sense of “conformity” to what we can expect of the assumption of responsibility by the subject in relation to his/her actions, symptoms or his/her real situation to start an analysis, these demands are purely and simply rejected. This is the case with some patients who have social and financial constraints that the psychoanalyst to whom they present themselves transfers them to the social workers, considering that no work is possible as long as their social problems are not solved. Evidently this is to encourage them to put their social problems aside and separate them from their unconscious role (or not pertaining to their responsibility). This is against Freudian and lacanian positions.

All we can say is that most people presenting themselves to a psychoanalyst operating from the urban centre, who made this offer of analytical lessen open to the public, are in fact already “rectified in advance” because of this personal will which drives them to the analysis . To them, this phase maybe invisible.

This is quite different from when one is faced with the challenge of offering analytical orientation lesson to people who do not have even a slightest cultural knowledge of psycho-analysis, be it that they are in particular relations with the real as it can be the case with some traumatic neuroses, and probably some adolescents and many other patients. Therefore the “subjective rectification” takes all its significance.

6°) Symptom as Compromise and Return of the Repressed.

In psycho-analysis a symptom is classically described as the expression of the unconscious conflict, a formation of compromise between the accomplishment of a desire and the repression or as the sign of the return of the repressed.

Nonetheless, knowing the fact that most of the symptoms correspond to the sign of the return of the repressed and also that this mechanism is undoubtedly universal only acquires a functional value in the framework of the psycho-analysis because it is only there that the unconscious will be taken into account as it is.

We often find ourselves in this situation whereby we know that such and such a symptom is partly linked to the unconscious, for which strictly speaking, we cannot do anything. Expertise situation is exemplary of this case. In principle, the framework is not prepared to elaborate the demand because it does not exist, neither is it prepared to put transference in place. The unconscious knowledge is going to be able to express itself, but it will not be recognised as it is and it will not end up with any sign of truth.

In my experience I recently met a man who was brutally beaten by the police. Some years later, he claimed damages and he filed a law suit in an apparently paranoiac mode. When listening to his version of the story, the fact that he was treated “like a bastard” by the police in this scenario, was due to an innate fantasy asset since his childhood for which he accused his parents. Being able to give an account of this or being conscious of it did not even transform his claim symptoms to analytical symptom i.e. analysable symptoms. However, the way in which he influenced his violation could legitimately be interpreted as the return of the repressed. What can we say about this man? Is he paranoiac or neurotic? It does not matter because what was essential was that it was either impossible to construct an analysable symptom from him or it was impossible for him to see his fault in his misfortune, but for some reason, he was far from realising that it was only due his structure. It could also just be strong invitation from an ambient speech making oneself as victim or of the effects of bad encounters in the eyes of lawyers, doctors or psychiatrists, etc. On the contrary, it is possible in a psycho-analytical profession to witness astonishing situations in which some symptoms which seemed to be displayed outside or a somatisation become analysable at ance.

For a considerable number of months, I received a man who complained of many pains mainly centralised on the lower limbs on which the neurologists had diagnosed some anomalies on the electrogram exhibiting an organic pathology. This man strongly denied it with strong and explicit term. He refused to accept that these pains could stem from the psychological effects and that they are related to his childhood problems, which are displayed by particularly painful events, or his conjugal problem which led to his divorce. He recently came to see me again with a totally different story. According to him, he was engaged in an unceasing struggle in order to keep his dignity and to come to terms with his sorrow. He had just “collapsed” for the first time before the judge who made him relate his biography during his divorce. He came back to see me, but this time he had possibly recognised the effects of this humiliation suffered at childhood stage caused by his father who influenced the present state. Up to this meeting, he was conscious of all these. He could even explain. Nonetheless, this was without effect. Today’s difficulties can appear as the echoes of psychological traces of the past.

In this perspective, lacan could say that the symptom is what can be analysed. This functional definition is more useful to us than the theoretical attempts of predicting the nature of the symptom according to the structure.

In fact, whatever the initial structure, the form and the content i.e. the supporting explanation, the symptom is in the first place what will become analysable in the psycho-analytical work. Although we can absolutely trust on the structure, except for extreme cases, we cannot qualify the symptom as analytical or non analytical from its form or content as it is. One utterance can refer to different meanings, in different positions vis-à-vis the symptom, and especially to various possibilities of the symptom construction in the psycho-analytical sense. Utterances such as, “he hates me”, “i am possessed”, “i am suffering from a fatal illness”, “I am a monster”, have nothing to do with the symptom.

7°) The Desire for Recognition and the Social Formation of the Symptom

Lacan, in the seminar on Formations of the Unconscious, highlights how much it could be paradoxical to talk about the emergence of the desire or about accomplishing the desire through the symptom. However, this is what is suggested by the term “compromise”, as though the symptom on its own or its formation, was a space of intermediary solution to the unconscious conflict by authorising a little of desire and a little of repression at the same time. In fact Lacan is clear and he reminds us that we cannot talk about satisfying our desire in the symptom. When there is a symptom it is good because the desire does not satisfy itself, no matter what we understand by satisfaction of the desire which is evidently not fulfilled by the object. In other words, the desire which manifests itself through the symptom is a particular desire. It is a repressed desire especially the desire for recognition, and therefore, something else rather than the desire according to lacan. It is an ambiguous desire, which is not oriented to an object and gives its enigmatic feature which hides the symptom.

In addition, Lacan insists on this other paradox. What about the symptom which is there to enable recognising the desire before the meeting with the psychologist? Or before the invention of psycho-analysis by Freud? He answered that this recognition of desire, is an acknowledgement by the person, not aimed at anyone, because nobody can realise it until someone starts to learn the key. This acknowledgement manifests itself in a form which is close to the Other. This is therefore recognition of the desire, but acknowledgement by a person”. However, in same pages a bit further, he went on to highlight the social role of the symptom from ethnology. He finds a confirmation, of the presence of desire in the demonstrations as perfectly conventional, inside Michel Leiris’ works on the possession among the Ethiopians.

Should it be concluded that before psycho-analysis (or the psychoanalyst) the only possible answer to this call to the recognition of the desire by the symptom is the social conformity to the rituals? The psychoanalysis’s point of departure would be to open this “closed” process which is a symptom to another reading, in contrast with the interpretations given by Lévi-Strauss and Michel Foucault, who put psycho-analysis in relation, one with shamanism the other with Christianity. This opinion should, however, be put into perspective and should also be given the credit of a possible special listenership even within the traditional procedures of healing. This is obviously an affair that needs to be considered according to each case, but of which some psycho-analysts happened to witness the surveys done in the field (cf. OLIVIER Douville).

8°) Symptom and Oedipus Complex

We can obviously draw a distinction between symptoms which will be used in the oedipal process and the symptoms which are not characterised by the passage of the Oedipus complex, provided that this distinction takes place in an analytical framework and not from medical or psychological observation. What is the real scope of this distinction? What can we expect of it in any possible analytical work? Not so much in terms of the unpredictable results, but certainly rather in terms of difficulty and discomfort for the work of a psychoanalyst, etc.

9°) Symptom, Transference and Enjoyment

The real question is rather the one that has to do with the destiny of the symptom taken in the transference. It is from this stage that a different conception of the analytical symptom could be made and we can radically move away from the medical and psychiatric conception such as broader general meaning of the symptom as message.

The transference will encounter several effects with regard to the symptom. When the psychoanalyst keeps in his place he will allow a mobilisation or putting symptom’s address into movement. All other large or small signs to which the symptom could be addressed will appear in this empty space that it occupies. If the psychoanalyst does not respond to these different places where he is successively convened, it will result in putting the symptom into perspective like emergency call from the outside. Overtime, it will become a private affair whose subject shall sort himself out and it will no longer have the same impact in social life. The other effect of the transference fits in the identification of the repetition. The psychoanalysis replaces the symptomatic repetition in social life by repetition within the transference. This is a symbolic repetition which is reparable by the return of some speeches and signifiers and it is the second way of putting the symptom into perspective. The analysing subject will be able to notice that the point is not to understand, nor get rid of the symptoms rather than to arrive at renouncing to the enjoyment provided by the repetition.

At this stage, Lacan’s statements according to which the symptom is on the one hand, what can be analysed and what could be enjoyed on the other hand are particularly useful. The progress of analytical cure goes in this sense of giving less importance to the initial symptom for the benefit of refocusing on the perseverance of some signifiers or some fantasies and their relationship with the enjoyment. Maybe the differences between psychotherapy and psychoanalysis can be picked up at this stage whereby the psychotherapy is tilted to identifying the Other while psychoanalysis in refusing to give consistency to the Other by rather allowing the emergence of the fantasy (cf. Jacques Alain Miller).

The enigma gets removed. Thus for an analyst the problem is no longer centred on determining why when driving, it happens that one has to turn back and check that he/she has not crushed a human being, but it is rather to know why he/she is attached to perceiving oneself as a monster. It is this self-perception and the cognisance of the enjoyment that she has which becomes the real question and as a result it makes the symptoms tolerable in social life.

At times the initial symptoms become useless and they are abandoned. It looks like it is often because of their uselessness that the symptoms disappear rather than the significant luminous and striking interpretation, etc. This is a phenomenon which is often encountered and which may have to do with symptoms which appear to be not easy to determine. I recently had a case of a patient who was a victim of drastic physical trauma which dated to 3 years back and who had developed headaches and daily, intense and crippling migraines which led her to taking the strongest of the most recent anti-migraines medication. She came to my consultation with the biggest scepticism, because she did not see any psychological reason behind her illnesses. To her biggest surprise, one good morning as she woke up, she was free of all these migraines after a session which made her aware that the real cause of her pains was just some unresolved clashes between her and her sister. We cannot claim that the meaning of the symptom was explained, but it became just useless because the work was centred elsewhere.

But the effect of the Other’s exclusion and repetition extends further. It finally leads to deviation from the sense register which is the one that has to do with the symptom and psychotherapy. Mourning a symptom is also the meaning in a broader general sense of the word (cf. Jacque Alain Miller and his reflections on “off sense” of analysis in Lacan’s last lessons).

10°) Production of New Symptoms in the Course of the Analysis

Besides putting the initial symptoms into perspective, transforming all the linguistic productions of the analysis into analysable symptoms, the analysis also produces the new symptoms which will show up in social life. But they do not at all have the same status as the symptoms which hindered the subject’s life before the analysis. They should be considered to be the creations of the analysis, or the way to act and show what cannot be explained even within the analysis itself. We can, therefore, see coming into life totally incongruous loves and hatreds for the analysand as well as for those who are victims or the external beneficiaries, but which are sometimes necessary in order to apply the oedipal apparatus elements which are still less structured. Thus, the hatred of a designated rival will enable us to determine, through association of ideas or dreams, the unprecedented rivalry and hatred for the mother. As for the boy, it is the manifestation of his multiple seduction ventures in the eyes of a psychoanalyst which will enable him to recognise the incestuous relation he has to his mother by the prejudice of his desexualised company.

Conclusion: Symptoms Transfer to the Anguish and the Sinthom ?

To conclude, i have two questions to ask without necessarily developing them. Is transfer to anguish not one of the destinies of the symptom in the analysis? The sinthom, taken from Lacan as “something else not related to symptom” (ptose) is it a matter of structures i.e. semi-constitutional impossibility (assumptions of the prosthesis’s necessity instead of debarment of the father’s name) or a matter of resistance and limitations to the analysis itself, while it’s impossible to go beyond the symptom, to give way for enjoyment, and “to traverse the fantasies”, as they briefly sum it up?

[source: http://www.psf-en.com/spip.php?article19]

From Freudian Symptoms to Lacanian Sinthom #1

What is a psycho-analytical symptom?

What do we mean by psycho-analytical symptom or symptom in a psychoanalytical sense? To try to answer this question I followed a considerable number of criteria, the criteria which are usually ascribed to symptoms or the ones used to draw the distinction between symptoms in a psycho-analytical sense and, for example, the symptoms in medical or social sense. Our objective is to highlight a number of ambiguities and the relative or obscure aspects of some of these distinctions.

Here are a few examples of the numerous questions which are asked: what does the description of symptom’s subjective refer to? What is the symbolization or symptomatization which is traditionally linked to the use of the symptom? What is the status of the desire, the signifier and the sense inside the symptom? What is the symptom’s destiny in the transference and in the process of cure? Let us first take a symptom from its most general sense, in its role which can be called social before gradually arriving at what would be its definition and its role within the psycho-analysis.

1) The symptom is a message and a symbolic construction at all times.

This implies that it is addressed to the Other. Generally, this is worthwhile even in medicine. In fact, medical semiology can only be regarded as a vast dictionary of translation used by the one who receives the message – symptoms on the subject identified as sick. Without this enormous corpus inherited from the entire medical history and governed by very precise linguistic rules, no complaint, pain or malaise could be interpreted by doctors. Therefore, it can be realized that a symptom is a symbolic construction even in medicine. It is a determinant for a complaint or bodily signal according to the specific information and theoretical references within the medical science.

In fact, although the interest of medicine is to focus on the real, it spends much of its time ignoring this real which nonetheless gives it a signal. The recent evolutions and the more and more technical side of the medical circles are not going in the different direction. The aim is to construct a new artificial object which is more manageable and hassle-free than this living and speaking body which offers itself to bistouries.

In other traditions such as the Western Medicine there are other kinds of translation dictionaries used. They interpret in a different manner and give different meanings to the complaint and the suffering. But they play the same fundamental role i.e. to insert by always forcing, at a possible risk, the complaint’s real into the symbolic universe which is full of meaning. 90% of the world populations does not refer to the biomedical universe (scientific/scientist), but to a kind of universe full of invisible entities. Too often we pick up the indigent word “magico-religious”, whereby the distinction between an illness, misfortune and pain does not exist. This event that befalls you and hurts you is associated with a set of forces and external agents around the subject who complain. It could be witchcrafts, supernatural spirits, being possessed or a destiny which could be a divine punishment.

Seen from this angle, the Western Medicine, medical-technology or traditional medicines and divination techniques are strictly equivalent. They symbolise the real (what befalls you) and suggest an acceptable sense to the event in the eyes of both the subject and his/her relatives. And this is the first step of the entire therapy.

Scientific and technical fine-tuning which enables our Western Medicine to treat and heal a considerable number of diseases from which we die, does not make any fundamental difference under certain conditions. This means that they do not change anything to the principle of symbolisation of the real itself. Furthermore, if we look at things with hindsight, the western medical technological progress does not prove its superiority over traditional techniques in an obvious manner. We have to think of all its derived, secondary and harmful effects, such as iatrogenic pathologies, nosocomial diseases (hospital-acquired infections) medicinal addictions and more generally a noticeable weakness with regard to the first signs of the illnesses which result from intra-psychological or relational conflicts, etc.

From there, two questions transpire.

1) If the entire symptom is a product of a symbolic translation referred to by a specific cultural code of whatever kind, we must admit that all the subjects addressing their complaints to the Other presuppose that this Other has the keys of the code. As a result, the way in which this complaint is going to be expressed already includes an effort of translation which is equivalent to an effort of making oneself heard or understood by this Other. In principle, this is why it is impossible to neglect what we call a symptom which shall be a remarkable or subjective dimension belonging to the complaining individual and a social dimension borrowed from the Other’s speech. Therefore, what needs to be clarified is firstly the relationship between the symptom and the social such as speech.

The second question emanates from this observation. If the entire Symptom is already a symbolic construction addressed to the Other and that it means something to this Qther, therefore, what is this psycho-analytical symptom called? What is the symbolisation of the an illness which would be specific to the psycho-analytical operation? What is the symbolisation? What is it that will distinguish psycho-analytical symptom from the medical or traditional symptom?

2°) Constituting the symptom inside the other

If we accept the foregoing, therefore the entire symptom is immediately formed inside the Other, by at least speaking to the Other and in an effort of recognition that involves the use of signifiers of the Other.

Although there are always two combined sources to the symptoms, that is, this element of the real which makes some sense and an offer of the preliminary proposed sense or rather imposed by the Other, it is worth-realising that the symptom’s expression is first restrained by this limited register made up by the symbolic code, that is, the pool of available signifiers which refers to a culture. While some will relate their symptoms to the Djinns and Ancestral Spirits, others will draw from Marie-Claire’s Health Science, Television Programmes or the latest Lucien Israel’s Book, etc.

But it is worth-going further, because this offer is not neutral or passive. It works like a real demand addressed to the suffering subject.

When a human being is affected by misfortune, pain or an illness, given that he/she is also a social being, he/she has to match his/her problem and demand to what is expected of him/her. This is why symptoms evolve according to the historical and geographical context and according to the social status of the addressees. This phenomenon was fully described through the hysterical symptoms with pseudo-epileptic hysteria crisis example which was given a neurological look from the 19th century. It can, however, perfectly be generalised. The signifiers which henceforth most often carry the complaint and demand are borrowed from the depression register, traumatism, obsessive compulsive disorders “O.C.D”, and other entities in use.

But it is worth making some extra conclusions to avoid attributing the responsibility of the form it gives to its initial demand and to the subject itself and, or even worse, to put on the account of a change of the subjectivity in general, or “psychological economy” which would govern the observable variations of these demand to the modern human being. We can give several examples in support of this evolution.

Thus, it is a less disputable fact that the increasingly numerous demands borrow their formulation from the claim register. We spot the idea of a right to compensation and the hope that repairing the injury is going heal up the symptom. This can be quite shocking if the misfortune in question is the death of someone closer, the birth of a handicapped child, results of a natural catastrophe or an accident that befell a person of which nobody is responsible. But where does this construction come from? An evolution of the subjectivity in the sense of taking away the responsibility or rather an evolution of social speech and the judicial arsenal which is increasingly dominated by reference to the law-and-order, preventing any risk, and the inflation of the figure of the victim? Who is responsible? The complainant subjects themselves or the public offer made to them to treat their misfortunes on a mode of legal repair?

Another example is that we quite quickly denounce the aesthetic surgery or artificial procreations demands by attributing a kind of perversion to the individuals who choose it or we accuse them of pleasing in forbidden acts of immorality. However, these demands are firstly induced by the new techniques proposed to the public which make up a profitable market, and by the legal system accompanying them. The medical institution in some leading technical fields such as Artificial Insemination with donor even elaborate a sham and a specific legal fiction to justify the maintenance of donor’s anonymity and the internal failure of the Artificial Insemination Donor device to detect that it assigns paternity to a sterile male. The possible problems that can arise later for this male or his children or their mother tend to be attributed to the character’s psychology instead of the secret and the sham instituted by the law and it is never questioned as it is.

Faced with this induced dimension of the demand and the symptom, the psycho-analytical process can only be conceived for what it is likely to find or to draw the distinction between the consistant, requested and expected formulation and subject enunciation. The first-class psycho-analytical intervention is the one that identifies what is irrelevant between the interpretation which is supposed to be true by a patient concerning his symptom and the reality that obtains.

This first feature of the symptom as constituted in the Other can be generalised, whatever the meaning given to this Other.

- The big Other of the code :
- The little Other of the couple or the family without which most of the symptoms are incomprehensible. From the frigidity addressed to a particular partner, to the agoraphobia which necessarily includes the company’s contra-phobic role, or to a suicide attempt which is addressed to one’s relatives, etc. Without this Other, the symptom no longer has the reason for being.

- The Other is going to be made up by the psychoanalyst whose action shall consist in offering itself as a symptom’s address to gradually reduce this Other’s consistency in order to make it understood that the other possible recipient of the massage is the subject himself.
- and it is this “Other scene” represented by the unconscious on which the symptom as message is going to appear as a question that the subject asks himself from a knowledge that he ignores.

Lacan would have said that the symptom always has a footing inside the Other.

3°) What “symptoms” in the absence of Other?

There are cases in which a symptom is not built inside the Other in this manner. In such cases, maybe we should find another word to designate the symptom in order to avoid assimilating it to neurotic or analytical symptoms.

Sometimes the symptom cannot be built up in this manner because the Other is absent i.e. there is neither one nor the other.

It may happen that they had never existed, because the field of the other was not built up at the earliest stages of the subject structuring, that is, putting in place the third party and the imaginary at the mirror stage. This is the paradigmatic case of autism or certain forms of schizophrenia, especially paranoid schizophrenia, in the course of which it can be realised that hermetism and incommunicability of symptoms such as delirium, hallucinations and interpretation show difficulty to be communicated to the Other. In some situations, there is neither code nor interpreter to translate or interpretat the real. The Real directly makes sense or signal. The real talks on its own. The word equals the thing . There is a kind of continuity between the real and the symbolic without the intervention of the imaginary. Lacan figured the symptom as a kind of small patch separating the real and the symbolic in some topological sketches.

Maybe it no longer exists, this is to say that the Other has fallen down or has left. This is a traumatic neuroses case which is characterised by this sentiment found in “trauma subjects”, of not belonging to the universe of the living, being dead-alive, disaffiliated, abandoned and without any symbolic attachment which makes sense. The Other is no longer there to enunciate this initial demand necessary for the establishment all the subject, the need to exist and the belief to exist. This is why traumatic neuroses symptoms and especially repetition syndrome have nothing to do with the transference neuroses symptoms or the symptom as message derived from the Other. The nightmarish symptoms that we encounter are rather empty calls, emanating from beyond the grave.

Question : Is symptom a message transmitted to the Other in paranoia? In this case the difficult thing is that unlike in the case of schizophrenia, the Other exists i.e. maintenance of imaginary to similar relationship. However, this Other or this imaginary image is an object of an erotic passion or an object full of hatred which prohibits any mobility between the different plans and any translation of the message which would open to a series of meanings (univocal meaning of persecution).

4°) The Symptom in Psycho-analytical Context

From this very general definition of symptom as a message communicated to and built inside the Other, the efforts to surround its meaning and its psycho-analytical scope shall operate by a series of reductions which are, in the strict sense of the word, only valid to a specific framework of psycho-analysis i.e. contact with another person who is a psychoanalyst.

The first reduction to operate is the one that with start with the different meanings of the Other (the big Other of the code, the little Other of the similar relation, etc) then focus on the precise role of this Other who is a psychoanalyst. Without this operation created by the artifice of a particular meeting, it seems wrong to talk about the presence or absence of the psycho-analytical symptoms in a person. At best, it is in the aftermath of this meeting that the symptoms and the initial terms of the demand could appear to be fulfilling a particular role in relation to the unconscious.

Although all the symptoms are messages, they only acquire their role in the eyes of the unconscious on condition that they are received by the listener who will allow the recognition of the operating unconscious in their formation.

This implies that the distinction between neurotic or non neurotic symptom, between analytical and non analytical symptom, does not so much depend on the preliminary structure which will be easy to diagnose or to predict (this is what in a strict sense of the word, the psychoanalysis is once again unable to do), but it depends on the possibility or impossibility that the symptom is recognised by the subject as its own massage communicated from another place which is however, itself.

In other words, a symptom in a psycho-analytical sense never precedes sharing with the analyst. Adopting this point of view, already means showing resistance to the sense whereby Lacan put it in the discretion of the psychoanalyst because the absence of a dully standard symptom could lead to a contra-indication of the analysis.

A symptom is the possible construction of the analysis, that is, there is no guarantee. The limits of this construction consist, on the one hand, of resistances from the subject of demand as well as the analyst and on the other hand, it consists of the impossibilities of which there is a need to specify the reasons for not folding up too quickly on the existence of a defect, a deficit or the personality’s lack of maturity. [source: http://www.psf-en.com/spip.php?article19]

Psychoanalysis, research and science

By Jorge Bekerman
Translated by Andrea Banega

1. The requirement to shorten the interventions and turn them into ten- to twelve-minute-long presentations prompted me to adopt a sort of "minimal format" for this intervention: I chose to state ten one-minute-long proposals, articulated with one another. I prepared the presentation by summarizing the contents of each proposal and by focusing on what I cannot fail to say, rather than on what I would like to say. [1]

2. The issue of the relationship between psychoanalysis and research and science strikes a personal chord: I started my professional career by doing research in Neurobiology, between 1966 and 1975, and from then onwards I devoted myself to the clinical practice of psychoanalysis. "Strikes a personal chord" means that this intervention about psychoanalysis, research and science has –at least partially- a testimonial character.

3. This enables me to pose the following question: is it possible to talk, write or do research about psychoanalysis and leave the testimonial factor aside? In other words: can we talk, write or do research about psychoanalysis leaving aside our own experience of psychoanalysis? Because –at least in the field of psychoanalysis– there is a difference between reading and experience or, if we’d rather put it this way: between theory and practice. Corollary: there is an "anomaly" in psychoanalytic science, insofar as it is a science that is not built without regard to the testimonial factor (whether or not one acknowledges such testimonial factor), although it is certainly not circumscribed to the testimonial factor.

4. The experience may be the professional "experience" of an analyst, experience written here between inverted commas because there is a reason why Freud said that with each patient, the analyst must try to forget what he already knows and listen to each case as if it were the first. This is another example of the "anomaly" of psychoanalytic science, yet at the same time it is an epistemological stance whose originality and efficacy should be underscored time and time again, since no science is built on the methodological premise that that which is already known should be forgotten; rather, the contrary is the case.

5. When we talk about the experience of psychoanalysis we refer especially to each one’s experience as a patient. The most important methodological requirement for Freud regarding the formation of the analyst is that the analyst must undergo psychoanalytic treatment; following this line of reasoning we may add that when talking, writing or researching about psychoanalysis we cannot do without our experience as patients.

6. Thus, research in psychoanalysis is always "research under transference" (positive or negative); first of all, in relation to psychoanalysis itself. This is very hard to defend in the framework of science, insofar as scientific knowledge is built by taking as reference ideals of objectivity and accuracy that may be entirely passed on to the scientific community. Psychoanalytic science (should such a science exist) would be a paradoxical science –as well as a conjectural one.

7. Let me illustrate this point with a clinical vignette. For this purpose, we shall refer to the patient as "Claudia" and to her mother as "Nelly". Nelly, devastated by psychosis, was unable to raise Claudia by herself. But Nelly had two single, childless sisters who helped her as best as they could –not very well, in fact. Once, during the course of her free association, while Claudia was commenting on an argument between her aunts I heard her say: "My three aunts are always arguing." "Three aunts?", I asked, "What do you mean three aunts? Do you not have two aunts?" She remained completely silent for an instant and then declared: "Sure, since I did not have a mother!".

8. "I did not have a mother" is an inaccurate statement that articulates a subjective piece of truth crucial to this subject: "I am three times an orphan".

9. The issue of the truth of the testimonial factor is embedded in psychoanalytic research and science. Yet on the other hand, from the moment it was born, psychoanalysis has appropriated a commitment with the scientific rationale, with that reason which proves capable of getting to the edge of the abyss of what may be known. Unlike magic, which is based only on symbolic efficacy, and unlike religion, based on the promise of an eventual reward, psychoanalysis is based on the materiality of the signifier and its effects. In my case: to solve the alienating "science or psychoanalysis" option in order to work in psychoanalysis without giving up the scientific spirit.

10. As with any type of research, psychoanalytic research is not a one-person task, even though the names of Freud, Lacan, Melanie Klein, Winnicott and others may seem to indicate otherwise. Since it is not an individual task, it is an institutional task, which raises the question of what the requirements would be for an institutional structure to be consistent with the scientific "anomaly" inherent to psychoanalytic work. This might be reduced to the minimalist principle of creating and recreating spaces that include the testimonial factor with dignity, to turn it into the axis around which the research that is consistent with the scientific spirit of psychoanalysis revolves.

References and notes
1-The author presented this work at the International Congress on Research in Psychoanalysis and Social Science (Investigación en Psicoanálisis y Ciencias Sociales) held in Tucumán, Argentina, on October 6th and 7th, 2006. The original text in Spanish was published by Editorial Letra Viva, on April, 2007 (pp 74-75).

source: http://www.lacanian-psychoanalysis.com

Design | Elque 2007