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Barry O’Donnell – Terms and Conditions – Psychosis and Psychoanalytic Treatment


THE LETTER 55 & 56 Spring/Summer 2014, pages 27-39.


Psychoanalysis is a practice launched by a neurologist, Sigmund Freud, based on the interpretation of dreams, products of every mental life which signify so madly that the normal and the pathological become indistinguishable. With the work of the psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, Jacques Lacan, psychoanalysis recognizes the human subject as a subject of the effects of the functioning of language. This requires that the practitioner in the field of the mental attend to the speech and language of a patient – one who is suffering a disturbance in their symbolization of their world. This requires a listening which refuses submission to the expectation to quickly fix a diagnosis with seeming certainty, a listening which resists the pressure to form an opinion on the basis of unreliable outward signs. This paper raises a number of points which support this contention, in in order to promote serious consideration of the consequences for practice for the position that psychosis is a disorder of the subject in language.

Terms and Conditions – Psychosis and Psychoanalytic Treatment

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