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Gérard Amiel – In what Ways does Psychoanalysis Differ from Psychotherapy?


THE LETTER 50 (Summer 2012) pages 77-83


The evolution of psychoanalysis under Freud, then Lacan, reveals that although psychoanalysis was originally a therapy, that is no longer the case. Today, the true function of psychoanalysis is to bring mankind into a state of desire.


Keywords: history, symptom, le Grand Autre (the big Other), objet petit a, metaphor, metonymy, phallus, psychoanalysis, 


Let us begin with a brief historical reminder. If we go all the way back to the origin of psychoanalysis, back to the time when it was first invented by Freud, the first objective of psychoanalysis was to try to resolve the symptom, particularly the hysteric’s symptom. Little by little, this approach ended up having a great influenceon the firsttheoretical writings of psychoanalysis, as well as definingthe structure and essential conditions of the cure. So, in its early stages, psychoanalysis was more like a form of therapy. But, as most of you are probably aware, over the past hundred-plus years, the word “therapy” has significantlyevolved, to the point where it no longer means quite the same thing as it did before.

In what Ways does Psychoanalysis Differ from Psychotherapy?

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