In a slight departure from the normal run of events, this publication of THE LETTER comprises both the Summer issue and the Autumn issue for the year 2000. Our hope is that this double dose will be medicine enough to carry the reader through to Spring 2001, when the third and final issue in this volume will see the light of day. That will bring to you the proceedings of the Seventh APPI November Congress, which will be in full swing as this present number is being distributed.
André Michels’ article on anxiety opens our work, in two senses: it is the first paper and it is one which allows for an opening into psychoanalytic work itself via the gateway of anxiety which, he explains, always announces the arrival of that which is truly new. On that note, it might be appropriate to mention here something which, if only in a modest way, can lay claim to that character of ‘newness’ – something, incidentally, to which André contributed his share. APPI this year launched a series of clinical seminars – The Direction of the Treatment Today – involving the participation of clinicians from at home and abroad, most of whom have already made their way to our shores on other occasions, all of whom have left something behind in their wake – a little something that usually makes its way into the space of THE LETTER. The clinical programme occurs once a month over a weekend – Friday evening given over to a theoretical session, Saturday morning devoted to.clinical applications. The series is seen on the whole as in the nature of an experiment, the follow-up to which might contribute to the formation in psychoanalysis in Ireland. The products of this we hope to be able to bring you in published form at some time in the future.
It must be remarked that one treads a fine line in introducing this sort of programme insofar as including the clinical – I’m thinking especially of the case presentation – in a way risks the degradation of the clinic of the ear into one of the eye, that is, a temptation to ‘voyeur’-ism can creep in. In this way what could allow access onto this ‘truly new’ is undermined by the introduction of nothing more than a ‘novelty’. There is surely a certain ethic required if this is to be avoided. The benefit of the experiment, however, becomes clear when, as happened only a week ago in the course of an open supervisory session, the application of an ear oriented by a Lacanian teaching brings-direction to bear on a wealth of clinical material. It is this that will save Lacanian psychoanalysis from relegation from the couch to either the university department or the coffee table of the well read. Our own small project towards ensuring this does not happen has already proven itself to have been a promising beginning. In regard to this it’s interesting to note that Philip Dodd in his article (issue 20 of this publication) remarks in relation to Maud Mannoni that, ‘It was her university years that would be truly formative for her. This was paradoxical, for the University was dosed at the time Perhaps it is no coincidence that André Michels works in the Espace analytique created by her.
In relation to our own analytic space of THE LETTER, we decided to include in this publication a catalogue of the body of work that has come to occupy it. Readers may find in this a useful reference. New readers may wish to order back issues and the editor can be contacted in relation to this or indeed any other matter bearing on the journal via the email address given at the end of the page. We look forward to your comments, requests and – above all – your articles!
Finally, and on behalf of the Editorial Board of THE LETTER, I would like to thank heartily Jean Kilcullen for her participation over many years in the work that has been required to produce this journal. Jean has stepped down from the Editorial Board to pursue other interests. She has been a constant presence since the journal’s inception and I think it would be no exaggeration to say that without her unique input and her faith in her fellow Board members, we would not be in a position today to look back over nigh on seven years of publication. On a more personal note I would like to thank her for her encouragement and her trust, and above all for her part in the decision that meant I have been able to do something I truly enjoy. (She also possesses an uncanny ability to make a meeting stick to the agenda.
It only remains for me to take this opportunity to extend a seriously warm welcome to Patricia Stewart who has joined the Editorial Board and whose contribution to the collective effort we look forward to eagerly.