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The Question of Orthodoxy: Clinical Reflections on the Direction of the Cure

The Letter, Issue 4, Summer 1995, Pages 126 - 147


Claude Dumezil

It is not an easy task to resolve the dilemma whimsically expressed by Lacan when he said: 'A psychoanalysis is the treatment one expects to get from a psychoanalyst', and his remark, in counterpoint, that the former determines the latter.

I appreciate Lacan's little joke because it connects the question of Freudian psychoanalysis with the practice itself rather than with a programmatic, defined conceptualization which would limit our leeway, given where we are now in terms of psychoanalytic study. This may explain why a reference to the dogmatic and even religious notion of orthodoxy is surprising for those of us who are still the lay people that Freud wished us to be.

My feeling is that clinical psychoanalysis is the analysis itself insofar as its very existence depends on that of the couple analyst- analysand. This point of view leads me to consider the psychoanalyst as a part of a clinical unit. From the topological point of view the cure organizes a space in which unconscious knowledge is worked over and tested in the transference, which is never unilateral. This means that the analyst himself holds a position in the unconscious within the cure; it is this asymmetrical, unstable position that the analyst holds in the unconscious of the transference space that should be made operative.

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