Psychoanalysis Los Angeles California Extension
The Question of Psychoanalysis
When people seek to inform themselves on psychoanalysis, they are not so much asking about what psychoanalysis is, or for general theoretical knowledge on the subject, but more urgent questions primarily guided by a need to address their suffering. The typical inquirer, therefore, just supposes that the doctor is the one who knows, while they only bear the burden of their unhappiness. This common comprehension is so often infiltrated with preconceived ideas about psychotherapeutic ‘talking-cures’, psychological counseling, and psychiatric prescription drugs, that it becomes clear that not only does the question of psychoanalysis lack an answer, but the question itself has been so obscured and misdirected that it has left many indifferent to the practice. If the question of what psychoanalysis is, is to be revived — not merely as a scholarly transmission or an advertisement, but as a preliminary to its cure — one must first work out an adequate way of formulating it.
1 — What is Psychoanalysis?
Can Anything Be Said About Psychoanalysis?
If there is one thing all the literature has in common, it is that there seems to be no real reason to say that psychoanalysis can be defined as one thing rather than another. Yet, to verify this all one has to do is to read the latest academic commentaries or the Los Angeles Times, or further still, put a diverse group of psychoanalysts to the test by asking them what psychoanalysis is. The beauty of a psychoanalytic discourse consists in the fact that — up to a cliché – the responses will be found to be a highly conflicting and heterogeneous mass. To be serious one must respond to this arbitrariness in a manner that would go beyond trying to standardize it in schools of psychoanalytic thought or reject it as the vagaries of an immature science.
Establishing a Place for the ‘Free-Associations’
Not Defining, but Determining the Conditions for Psychoanalysis to Take Place: the Clinic
“It is not for nothing that the psychoanalysts would have more of an adversion for the unconscious [than Freud and his contemporaries] for they do not know where to put it. This is understandable, it does not belong to ‘euclidean space’. It is necessary to construct its proper space, and that is what I am doing today. The psychoanalysts who have not touched my teaching do not know about this. They prefer to have recourse to notions like the ego, superego, etc. …which are found in Freud, but which are equally homonyms with notions which have been used for a very long time, such that to use them permits an implicit return to their ancient acceptations.” [Interview with Jacques Lacan, by Pierre Daix, Paris 26, Nov. 1966]
Consequently, one is never further from assuming a psychoanalysis, than when one attempts to act out the significations and stereotypes of spoken language. Far from denying anyone a use of a ‘free-association’ or fantasy as an initial means to get into the ‘analytic wind’, one must eventually ask if any progress can be made in remaining there. To begin to respond to this question, Lacan called for a ‘traversing of the fantasy’ of analysis in the construction of ‘adequate topology ‘: a manner of constructing the situation of psychoanalysis that does not continually fall back into a fantasist reading of an analytic practice and the theory of Freud and Lacan,
(Santa Monica, CA/2004)