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How Significant is the Concept of Inexact Interpretation for the Psychoanalytic Clinic?

The Letter, Issue 59/60, Summer/Autumn 2015, Pages 69 - 76


Monika Kobylarska

This paper was presented at the inter-cartel meeting of The Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP) in the Milltown Institute on 13 June 2015. It addresses the concept of inexact interpretation and its significance for psychoanalytic practice, thoroughly discussed by Edward Glover in 1931 and repeatedly commented on by Jacques Lacan.

Keywords: inexact interpretation; suggestion; therapeutic effects; psychoanalytic treatment; the British Psychoanalytical Society; Edward Glover.


Jacques Lacan described Edward Glover’s article The Therapeutic Effect of Inexact Interpretation: A Contribution to the Theory of Suggestion as ‘one of the most remarkable and most intelligent articles which could be written on such a subject’, and in which he added that ‘it is really in fact the starting base from which the question of interpretation can be approached.’[1] Therefore, the main purpose of this paper is to study it and explore its relevance for psychoanalytic practice. Lacan addresses the problem of the therapeutic effects of inexact interpretation in The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis. He refers to it again in The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power and in his seminar on The Logic of Phantasy.

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