THE LETTER 62 Summer 2016, pages 1-18
The Sense of the Psychoanalytic Discourse
The Comfort and Impossibility of the Psychoanalytic Group
Each discourse brings into play a social bond without which it would not be
What social bond for the psychoanalytic discourse?
It would be quite natural to define this social bond as a group, namely as a
set of persons (personnes) united around an object, an event or a project that
brings them together. The social bond proper to psychoanalysis would define
the place that the persons take up with respect to psychoanalysis and the question
of the unconscious. The psychoanalytic discourse would thus group all
the arrangements (arrangements for the treatment, for supervision, arrangements
for theory and practice, intra- and inter-associative arrangements, etc.)
which would give to each one his place in this group project.
A noble hope founded on the arrangement (dispositif) of the well established
discourses. But for the psychoanalytic discourse, nothing of the sort. Because
psychoanalysis and the question of the unconscious give no place for
persons as such. Much more rather they are there to make them lose face, to
efface them, and there only remain essentially schizophrenic saids (S1 separated
from S2) which do not have the help of any pre-established arrangement.
Naturally, persons form groups. But the grouping is done very precisely in
the measure that the psychoanalytic discourse is forgotten.
The task of founding the social bond of the psychoanalytic discourse as a
group therefore appears hopeless: it is impossible for the personages interested
by psychoanalysis to form a group; it is impossible for them to find
themselves stabilised in a discourse that would give them a well established
social place. The reason for this is not in the individualism imputed to ‘psychoanalysts’,
but in the irreducible difference between the subject of the unconscious
and the person. …