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Psychoanalysis and the Formation of the Psychiatrist - Talk

The Letter, Issue 47, Summer 2011, Pages 1 - 32


Jacques Lacan

This talk [1] given by Lacan as a contribution to a program of lectures for trainee psychiatrists deals with the place of psychoanalysis in the formation of the psychiatrist, with the treatment of the psychotic as its central theme. The anxiety experienced by the psychiatrist when confronted by 'the madman‘ is seen as a factor in the poverty of contemporary psychiatry in the production of new nosological categories of mental illness. Hence a reliance on the 19th century classifications of Kraepelin and de Clérambault and an increasing dependence on pharmacology – this already in 1967. Other aspects of psychoanalysis which Lacan deems as being important to the clinic are discussed with an emphasis on listening to – rather than understanding- the discourse of the psychotic.

Keywords: formation; madman; anxiety; mass effects; o-object; unconscious; language.

I thank you for having come, like that, in such numbers. I am going to try to make this temporary cohabitation not too disagreeable, given this kind of collective attention that you are good enough to give me.

Nevertheless, in principle, this evening I will not have especially encouraging things to tell you. In any case, it was not with this intention that I accepted to speak, like that, almost first, because at the very least this is how things were presented to me. And if I chose, because I am the one who chose it, this title: Formation of the Psychoanalyst and Psychoanalysis (sic) it is because it seemed to me to be an especially important theme, but in connection with which, I was led to begin, by God, with what can be seen, be touched, what to every appearance is already there, as result, namely, a rather disappointing finding.

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