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Theory, Clinic ... A Question Of Ethics?

The Letter, Issue 8, Autumn 1996, Pages 83 - 94


Robert Levy

The ethical question of the analyst is included in the way he gives an interpretation. In this way his knowledge or better said his 'supposedly known', is inscribed in a certain relation with desire.

It is at this point of the encounter that the analyst, supposed to know and understand unconscious desire, is called upon. About this Freud is absolutely dear and tells us that...

... we refused most emphatically to turn a patient who puts himself into our hands in search of help into our private property, to decide his fate for him, to force our own ideals upon him, and with the pride of a Creator to form him in our own image and see that it is good ... and the patient should be educated to liberate and fulfil his own nature, not to resemble ourselves.[1]

Freud offers us a striking example in an article that appeared in 1928 in the magazine Imago, entitled A Religious Experience.[2] This text shows the extent to which it is necessary for the analyst to 'know' Freud and Freudian analysis; as we will see, this knowledge is 'already there' for Freud. But knowledge is 'already there' not because it is a non-sense to which a sense is given, but rather because Freud consistently upholds the body of knowledge already constituted by Freudian analysis, and which can be called upon in each case that he uses as demonstration of it.

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