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Psychoanalysis Without Tears?

The Letter, Issue 48, Autumn 2011, Pages 31 - 45


Helen Sheehan[2]

This paper deals with the question of the difference between didactic analysis and the formation of the analyst. It is based on a reading of the historical development of this topic from Freud to the present day. It recalls how some of the earlier leaders of the psychoanalytic movement took a different path to the one that Freud had wished for – the result of which has seen many splits in the psychoanalytic movement, not all of which have been propitious.

Keywords: didactic analysis, formation, Freud, Bernfeld, Lacan, Safouan.

One hundred years ago in the Summer of 1911 Freud’s Psychoanalytic notes on the case history of Schreber case were published. There are many lessons to be learned from President Schreber’s account of his unbearable suffering and Freud’s analysis of it. Many times he felt so anguished he longed for death. Many times he looked out to the end of the world searching for a fixed point, some place he could find his moorings, he felt his soul was murdered and what do we do when this happens? President Schreber wrote about the tortured steps he took to reclaim his being, to make his way in a world dominated by the cruelty of others, the cruelty of his own thoughts and wishes and his longing for it all to stop. There is no doubt that he was intelligent, articulate, moral and capable and that he was fired up by ideals. Freud said of him ‘his ethical outlook moreover was one which it was impossible not to endorse’[3]. He tried to master the real through his knowledge and ideals. What makes any of us different?

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