Psychoanalysis Los Angeles California Extension
Schools have their prejudices just as common understanding has them. One side corrects the other. It is important, therefore, to test a cognition with men whose understanding does not depend on any school. (I.Kant)
I – A Reform of Understanding: Bringing together the Psychoanalytic Clinic and School
( work in progress)
There are schools and clinics specializing in psychoanalysis in the U.S. and abroad. But what does this really mean ?
To speak of a school is to speak of a place (1) of knowledge, (2) where knowledge is transmissible, (3) that includes specialists in charge of this transmission, (4) that is recognized as an institution having for its function to organize (1), (2), and (3).
To speak of a clinic is to speak of a place (1) where there is an encounter with an individual (2) where there is a knowledge of the individual (3) whose knowledge has an experimental basis (4) where there is a treatment of the individual through applied research or science, (5) that includes specialists in charge of this knowledge, (6) recognized as an institution having at its function to organize (1), (2), (3), (4), and (5).
Most would probably agree that today such an organization of both the school and clinic is standard and could be called the medical model of psychoanalysis. Yet, what is never recognized or never explained precisely is why the standard medical model may work for such diseases as polio or typhus, but NOT for the symptom of psychoanalysis. What is required is a place of analysis, a School + Clinic, that does not trivialize its structure or assimilate its theory to what it is not – psychology, psychotherapy, or modes of applied lit-crit-social theory. It is this more direct approach that we will only outline here. The descriptive account you find here is of a structure that is in process and should be judged from this incomplete viewpoint and towards the future.
2 – From Epistemological Norm to Psychoanalytic Logic: The Place of the Future Analyst
One can not venture very far into the question of what counts as psychoanalysis before coming to the place where knowledge and truth intersect in problems of competency, belief, and cultural values. Whatever the outcome of such an interrogation what is certain is that whenever such questions are posed in our modern societies the problem of the mode of transmission of a knowledge is brought to the fore. To attest to the existence of a psychoanalyst and psychoanalysis is, therefore, to say that there exists a specific knowledge and it is transmitted in a specialized place called a psychoanalytic school, clinic, and session. Though what constitutes a ‘school’, ‘clinic’, and ‘session’ is nontrivial, what is important is that in each case it is not possible to speak seriously of either without denying their efficiency or calling for their reform and regulation. And it is precisely at this place that the veracity of the institutional measures are systematically shown to be lacking with regard to knowledge. Indeed, one may well ask if a psychoanalytic school really supports psychoanalytic knowledge or if psychoanalytic knowledge would ever support a school. Better yet, it must be asked if there is not an intrinsic resistance of a school to psychoanalytic knowledge. In itself this resistance is not bad and could be viewed as something not unwanted: a psychoanalytic school like any other maintains its function in excluding all those forms of fantasy and delusion that may be attributed to false knowledge. On many accounts, this resistance is nothing other than the professionalization of psychoanalysis in the name of a school. In each case, it can be shown that the resulting psychoanalytic knowledge does not spring from anything inherently psychoanalytic, but from an underlying system of academic authority and power that trivializes its status. There must, therefore, be the place for a psychoanalytic school that knows nothing about this other type of knowledge or would even deny its existence: there is only true knowledge and the rest is, at best, belief and opinion, at worst, fantasy and hallucination. Yet, what was first discovered with Freud is that just as the free-association of the session has an order, not all psychosis is madness. Indeed, modern rationality since Freud has discovered that there is a knowledge (savoir) and ‘method’ to a symptom that may very well be false, but neither an error, dysfunctional, or mere illusion. To gain access to this false knowledge of the symptom, the divisions of the clinic and school must be drawn along other lines than those of the academy or the hospital. For example, if scientific knowledge, according to Popper, can only affirm and verify particular statements like, Some swans are white; or refute universals like, All Swans are white, then we learn the opposite if we follow the logic of the phobia and fetish: they both refute particulars and confirm universals. Petite Hans denied his sister did not have a penis, in order to verify All humans have penises. Without developing the intrinsic logic of such symptoms, they can only be shown in the clinic as an error, dysfunction, or obscenity – and not integrated into the school as a peculiarly modern mode of rationality discovered by Freud. Today, psychoanalysis no longer has need of the phenomenologically obscene clinic of psychiatry and psychotherapy or the epistemological norms of the academic schools – on the condition that the inherent conditions for the reading and writing of the symptom can be achieved in its proper logic and place. This project is nothing other than a call for a reform of understanding of both the school and clinic as the place of the future analyst.
3– The Fantasy of Psychoanalysis: From Divided Subject to Object of Instruction
3.1 – From Education to Instruction
To support the scholarly and epistemological framework for knowledge, psychoanalysis must be assimilated to a norm: there must be ‘espirits’ sufficiently strong to support the school beyond the average pedagogue – the notable, the charismatic, the professional, etc. – and ‘espirits’ sufficiently weak to give a concrete instance to the need for a clinic where false knowledge would be turned into the symptoms, fantasies, and hallucinations of the sick. The shameless propositioning of patients by ‘doctors’ on ‘find therapists’ sites is just one example among many of the commercial development of the epistemological division between strong and weak or teacher/student, therapist/client, doctor/patient. Without wishing to deny anyone a fantasy the problem of an instruction and transmission of analysis lies elsewhere. For the future analyst, it is never a question that there is a student who is ignorant and a teacher who is knowledgeable, or a therapist that interprets the dreams of a client, rather it could only be so in a scholarization and professionalization of the analytic transfer. On the contrary, it is a question of what the student ‘already knows’: there is a knowledge of a subject but he or she may only have intuitions about it and can not find its writing or mode of transmission. As a consequence, what is required in any instruction is to establish the conditions for re-finding this knowledge not as something lost in the past, but towards the future: in a discovery or invention that achieves what the student already knows.
To begin to make room for this transitional relation to knowledge, it is important to distinguish between education and instruction: the former, is a mode of understanding ( ), at worst, it is a manner of telling students what and how to think the Same, then having them repeat it back for an evaluation; at best, it is a sort of improvised transmission where students have ‘the air’ of thinking the Same thing as their teachers; whereas an instruction, the student may think whatever or however he or she wants, what is important is that the problems are explained in a clear enough manner and there would be a material available – letters, writing, traits, objects, etc. – such that a construction and solution could be confirmed the Same. Briefly, educative understanding is thinking and being the Same, while instructive explanation is a construction – a writing – that is the Same.
One of the best examples of instruction comes from mathematics: if a problem is posed clearly, then students may arrive at the same solution even though they may have arrived at such a solution in different ways and with a different understanding. This material transmission of mathematics is, in the tradition, not called an education in mathematics, but an instruction. Furthermore, if we adopt the position of the ancient definition of the mathemata as ‘what one knows already’, then what is known ‘already’ is not found in the past, but is a result of a discovery and invention through a material of reading and writing. Thus, it is towards the future that one discovers what they knew already – which understanding is only an after-effect. Said otherwise, it is only in explaining what one does not understand that there is a mathemata. That in a mathematical instruction a child would have to loose all relation to a mother tongue and reject an everyday understanding of reality, while at the same time comment on this construction in everyday language poses a particularly difficult problem to most. Yet, it is precisely in such a division that there is an instruction that would not fall back into an educative manoeuvre, i.e., of telling the student what reality is and how to understand it.
To conclude, the difference between teacher/student in the field of psychoanalysis is an alibi for a more important division: a division of the subject that is required in any instruction that begins to problematize the relation of a knowledge to everyday speech and reality. From an educational viewpoint, there is the tendency to call such an instruction ‘abstract’ or ‘theoretical’, yet once it is accompanied with an object, a letter, a trait, or knot, for example, nothing could be more concrete. On the contrary, it is the avoidance of this everyday concreteness of language – of writing and reading – and the mere reliance on speech that makes things abstract, not an instruction itself. When asked why his paintings were so abstract, Kandinsky replied that they were not abstract, there were greens, reds, and blues, with traits and marks; nothing could be more concrete, what is abstract is what is taken for granted in the perspective figures of representational painting. Likewise, mathematics is not abstract, there is language, the materiality of letters, diagrams, and traits; what is abstract, is the person who merely perceives reality with the categories of speech instead of analyzing its language. Or again, it is often claimed that the psychoanalytic work of J. Lacan was good in theory, but not in practice; which may be supposed to mean that his theory was too abstract and had no relation to the clinic. Yet, Lacan’s work is concrete in precisely the manner Kandinsky’s is: there is language, traits, writing, objects, and constructions, that must be assumed in any practice of a theory; what is abstract is what is taken for granted in referring to the psychoanalytic clinic under the authority of a series of medical, therapeutic, and professional analogies.
3.2– From Abstract to Concrete Clinic: Code and Interpretation
That the difference between professor/student, therapist/client, and doctor/patient can be taken for granted in a generous offer to help and educate, makes it is hard to say or do anything to oppose it. Yet, on a second look, and with a tighter ethical grip, such offers are also responsible for some of the most horrific results in the instrumentalization of the knowledge of not only psychoanalysis, but psychology. For example, it may well be possible to produce a technician of psychoanalysis by giving the student a set vocabulary and principles designed to meet such and such conditions, but the real problem begins when the facts in the field no longer correspond to this vocabulary or principles, yet the technician continues to impose such strictures onto the situation. Even most psychologists would ‘already know’ and probably agree that the current DSM-V code book for the evaluation of the mental health of their patients is not only inadequate, but can be used and abused in ways that it was not intended. The problem, at least for those lacking an instruction, is that there is nothing any better: going by a logic of the least worst – an unjust solution is better than none at all. In court cases, for example, where decisions of child custody are urgently required, such code books and tests are used to decide if a mother or father are fit to keep a child; or even worse, in the urgency of the situation after 9/11 psychological procedures and knowledge were instrumentalized in the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo. What is required in the analysis of such a problem is not an evaluation of one party by the other on a set code and body of principles since this is, at best, an attempt to domesticate, at worst, to torture, not to civilize and resolve the problem. What is required is not a code, but an interpretation: a manner of reading and writing principles that does not correspond to the facts and facts that do not correspond to principles. Again, under the epistemic norms of education and science when a principle does not correspond to fact, it is called false, or a lie, and it is not viewed as having any value or existence in the construction of a knowledge. Yet, not all lies are false and not all truths are true. Moreover, without this constant to and fro of the use and abuse of knowledge, without this constant division between the truth and the lie, without this constant tension between student and teacher, therapist and client, there would be neither an institutional resistance to knowledge as such nor the constant call for reform and regulation of an instruction by systems of authority – not only educational, but juridical, legislative, economic, and professional.
3.3 – From Extrinsic to Intrinsic Criteria for a School-Clinic
Without denying there is a knowledge of psychoanalysis or those that can transmit it, to effectively treat the problems outlined in the last section it is necessary to bring together school and clinic on the basis of an instruction without falling into educative measures. Let us not be surprised, therefore, that the pedagogical reformers and regulators would never go to the end of their logic or determine an instruction on its basis; or that the habitual encounter with psychoanalysis in the greater public remains at the level of an educative, commercial, and medical stereotype. For if the reformers and regulators would assume the consequences of their logic, then it would be necessary to bring together the problem of school and clinic in a patent contradiction that goes beyond the attempt at reform and regulation: How can a service that claims to help and do good, end up causing so much harm?
That today such contradictions would not be constructed, but only lived and acted out might be called the ‘technician’s dream’ if it were not for the fact that contrary to a dream such fantasies are closer to a delirium in the sense they have no interpretation or place for their reading: all one can do is reform and regulate such contradictions in a catastrophe and after the fact. Let us pause here for a moment to detail what is involved.
A fantasy is experienced not only at points of crisis, but in contradictions taking on the form of an involution: events where it is impossible to distinguish between a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ psycho-technician, the ‘good’ or the ‘bad’ cop, the ‘good’ or the ‘bad’ teacher, or the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ criminal. Again, a psychologist working at Guantanamo Bay is just one example among many of such an involution; a policeman working on the Ferguson police force is another. Just as it is never merely a question of the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ psychologist, it is never simply a question of the ‘good’ cop or ‘bad’ cop; rather what becomes apparent is that a technician’s fantasy is beyond a morality of the good and bad. For such events exemplify the passage to tragedy and the horror at the division of the subject: for example, the psychologists of Guantanamo and the police in charge of the Ferguson shooting described their intentions and actions in commentaries that did not correspond to the evidence at the scene of the torture and killing. Although it was difficult to discern the reality of the scene, the object of their fantasy was more than real. As proof, and in spite of all the evidence, just try to convince a policeman, psychologist, or therapist that their objectives to help and serve have on many instances had the contrary effect and this was not simply the case of ‘a few bad apples spoiling the barrel’. A similar effect was noted in a fable: try to explain to an emperor that he has no clothes and you had better be a child. Another less fictional account is witnessed by Christian missionaries who, in the claim to serve and help the primitive people of the New World, all but help decimate them. Without denying the good intentions and deeds that may be accomplished in the name of a service, the problem of tragedy goes beyond such intentions and deeds. Far from being ‘abstract’ the fantasy of a psycho-technician – a little emperor or ‘curate’ – is all too real and dangerous to the degree it goes uninterpreted and is merely spoken of in terms of personal intention, professional services, then sanctioned judicially and reformed legislatively. As a consequence, many students of psychoanalysis today are left in the fantasy of analysis: they are taught a theory that they are unable to practice since to perform a ‘service’ they are forced to assimilate analysis to the duties of a psycho-technician, i.e., someone who can say or do anything in the name of their title on the condition that they claim ‘to help’ and this ‘service’ meets a professional obligation and a judicial sanction.
Without directly introducing a reading of the fantasy in a school-clinic, that is to say, without giving the material condition– a text or a writing – for its ir-reality and constructing its logic, no interpretation is possible. In fact, the fantasy is not take seriously at all: there are only perceptions of others that are deemed true or false according to personal ideologies, code books, professional obligations, judicial sanctions, and legislative reforms. Indeed, in all such cases of non-reading no distinction between a fantasy and its mad use in a delirium can be made. Which is to say, in the end no ethical responsibility may ever be assumed for such acts: it is only after the fact, that an act may be called ‘good’, ‘sane’, or ‘helpful’ and only with regard to extrinsic criteria of an ideology, juridical sanction, professional obligation, or legislative reform and regulation – and not the intrinsic criterion of the practice and theory of analysis itself. Of course, one can always claim there is a need to re-educate the psycho-technician, but without an instruction in the precise sense of the term – as mathemata and what we already know – this amounts to little more than pouring oil onto the fire.
To begin to read and write the involution of the fantasy marks the necessity for a reform of understanding of how the analytic school and clinic works. Without an introduction to its logic and giving a place to the seeming absurdity of the fantasy, the investments of those involved – personal, professional, economic, etc. – would prohibit any possible interpretation and instruction. Indeed, in face of the contradictions of the fantasy, a natural born analyst is left to either reasoning inconsistently or simply repeating recipes from their pet theories and notable analysts.
J. Lacan had already land marked this place of the future analyst and an instruction:
We will part from the root of psychoanalytic experience posed in its extension, the only possible base to motivate a school.
I claim to designate in the threshold of a psychoanalysis in intension the possible initiative of a new mode of access of the psychoanalyst to a collective guarantee through a critique in extension.
J. Lacan, Propositions of Oct. 9
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Psychoanalysis in Extension-Intension
The philosopher I. Kant sought to reformulate the problem of school and knowledge/truth into the logical difference between extension and intension:
Schools have their prejudices just as common understanding has them. One side corrects the other. It is important, therefore, to test a cognition with men whose understanding does not depend on any school. The perfection of cognition by which it qualifies for simple and universal transmission could also be called the external extension or the extensive magnitude of a cognition, so far as it is spread externally. [...]
Now, as concerns the intensive magnitude of cognition, i.e., its contents or its import and logical importance – which as noted above is different from its mere extent – we add the following remarks. 1) A cognition directed towards the large, i,e, the whole in the use of understanding, is to be distinguished from subtlety in small things (micrology). [...]I. Kant, Ein Handbuch zu Vorlesungen (Immanuel Kant’s Logic: A Handbook for Lectures)
Logically, the difference between extension/intension is the difference between showing and telling; for instance, a rock can be defined by showing it to someone or telling someone about its properties; similarly the rock may be explained by showing how it is constructed or described by listing its attributes.
Since Lacan, psychoanalysis may be defined in extension in terms of a topological presentation or in intension through the meanings and culturally accepted applications. If the extension of psychoanalysis is not so well understood, the intension is all too well understood in the sense that psychoanalysis devolves into a series of stereotypes and cultural jargon. Far from being negative, the misunderstanding of the extent of psychoanalysis actually makes room for a work that does not confuse the public presentation of a theory-practice for a ceremony of its popular meanings and intent. More succinctly, psychoanalysis in extension shows and explains what had formerly only been approachable through meaning telling and descriptions
The philosopher Wittgenstein had proposed: “what can not be said must be passed over in silence”. Analysis proposes otherwise: not only that such silence can be shown and written, but that it actually is shown in a savage way through a symptom. Thus, the formation of a school is not the place for the construction of a theory that is then applied or verified in a clinic, but the symptom is itself what teaches in determining the presentation and extent of a knowledge. In beginning to listen to the symptom and determine its extent – and not simply ‘treat’ and suppress it – the normative arrangement of psychoanalysis into the three pillars – 1) education; 2) supervision; 3) a personal analysis – is made obsolete.
Rather than supposing within the normative tradition that psychoanalytic training can be found in schools, then applied in the clinic under supervision, we combine both school and clinic in extension under the rubric Sclinic. Lacan introduced the short session to indicate the reformation of the intensions of the private session. Without denying the importance such a moment in history has had in casting a critical look at the personal session, it does not indicate the demise of the analytic session but a point of elaboration and transformation of its intension.
Leaving until another context to detail this extensive-intensive transformation, we only leave the outlines here:
Normative Tradition –
School ———– Clinic ——– Training ————– Personal Analysis
Analysis in Extension – SCLINIC —–> <—–WORK-GROUPS —–> <—- CONSULTATION – Intension
Written for PLACE by R.T. Groome Summer 2013, Santa Monica, CA
Propositions on the relation between extension and intension
You can observe that any company/society (Societe) organized in this way will be ungovernable. But it is not a question for me of governing. It is a question of a School, and not an ordinary School. If each one of you is not responsible before yourselves, there is no reason to be. And its essential responsibility is to progress analysis, and not to constitute a retirement home for veterans.” (J. Lacan Une procedure pour la passe, p.9 )
There is psychoanalysis and there is a School. To distinguish in this that the School is presented as a moral person, just as any other body: which is supported by persons, being physical and a bit there. Psychoanalysis on the other hand is a function of the order of the subject, which is demonstrated as depending on the object which, this subject, splits. To weigh the persons, a proposition of which one would not dare to hope for the imprudence, is the means the most improper to recruit the psychoanalyst, who functions even with someone of little weight. ( Adresse du jury d’accueil a l’asseblee avant son vote , [le 25 janvier 1969] , p.49 )
Relevant Materials on the School and the Clinic
1) See Re-Orientation to Psychoanalysis at the Virtual Classroom at: http://www.lacanlosangelespsychoanalysis.com/classes/
2) On The Greek Conception Of Education and The Teaching Of Psychoanalysis, By. J. Lacan (1970) The redaction of a conference in 1970 by P. Rapport where Oury, Michaud, and Lacan discuss the problems posed in the teaching of psychoanalysis. What is the task of psychoanalysis? How does its goal and didactic differ from psychiatry or psychotherapy? If psychoanalysis must separate its instruction from university teaching, how does it do so without falling into a religious initiation or therapeutic club? These are a few of the questions that come to bear in this short article. (Download) Greek Education
1) The Classicism of A. Badiou’s Reading of Psychoanalytic Practice, by R. Groome (2004) (Download)A. Badiou’s Classical Reading