Cormac Gallagher – Psychological Object or Speaking Subject: From Diagnosis to Case Representation

Issue 46 (Spring 2011)  Pages – 21-38 

There is a common view that there are two irreconcilable approaches to the understanding and treatment of mental illness. For most of the twentieth century Freudian psychoanalysis was dominant, and many professors of psychiatry were also analytically trained. In more recent years Emil Kraepelin, who had put psychiatry on a scientific footing in the nineteenth century, has regained what many consider to be his rightful preeminence. But are Freud and Kraepelin incompatible? This paper proposes that some synthesis between them was achieved by Jacques Lacan, a classically trained psychiatrist with links to Kraepelin, who nevertheless demonstrated that the psychiatric case-presentation was enormously enriched by the application of Freudian methods to public conversations with psychotic patients.

Keywords:  Wilhelm Wundt; Franz Brentano; Thesis-antithesis-synthesis; psychological testing. 


For Daniel Burston the ‘neo-Kraepelinian manifesto’ published by Gerald Klerman of Yale in 1978 is a major source of the plague of misdiagnosis and excessive use of drugs that he sees as characteristic of contemporary…

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