Issue 47 (Summer 2011)


Jacques Lacan‘s talk on 10 November 1967 given to psychiatrists, translated by Cormac Gallagher, deals with the formation of psychiatrists, although his remarks are equally relevant to the formation of psychoanalysts. He emphasises that the madman, the psychotic, is at the centre of the field of psychiatry, and suggests that the madman is the only truly free man. He raises a number of other fundamental aspects of formation such as mass effects, organo-dynamism, the o-object, the structure of the unconscious, the difference between the sign and the signifier, the importance of language to the clinic, truth, desire, the non-sense of sexuality, segregation and the mass media. Lacan is not attempting to question the role of psychiatry, although he draws some challenging parallels between the hierarchical structures which permeate both psychiatry and some institutions of psychoanalysis. … Continue reading

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This talk given by Lacan as a contribution to a program of lectures for trainee psychiatrists deals with the place of psychoanalysis in the formation of the psychiatrist, with the treatment of the psychotic as its central theme. The anxiety experienced by the psychiatrist when confronted by ‗the madman‘ is seen as a factor in the poverty of contemporary psychiatry in the production of new nosological categories of mental illness. Hence a reliance on the 19th century classifications of Kraepelin and de Clérambault and an increasing dependence on pharmacology – this already in 1967. Other aspects of psychoanalysis which Lacan deems as being important to the clinic are discussed with an emphasis on listening to – rather than understanding- the discourse of the psychotic.

Keywords: formation; madman; anxiety; mass effects; o-object; unconscious; language.  

I thank you for having come, like that, in such numbers. I am going to try to make this temporary cohabitation not too disagreeable, given this kind of collective attention that you are good enough to give me. …

This paper was given at the conference in All Hallows on 10  June 2011.1 It deals with the influences on Freud‘s often neglected religious formation and his own subjective tendency towards religious superstition. This forms the background to his seminal 1907 analogy of obsessional neurosis as a private religion and religion as a universal obsessional neurosis.

Keywords: Freud‘s rabbinical  family tradition; Charcot on hysteria and medieval witch trials; obsessional neurosis; superstition; spiritualism and the occult. 


The revelations in the recent Ferns, Ryan, Murphy and Cloyne reports of widespread cruelty and sexual perversity in religious institutions caring for young people, and among individual priests, nuns and brothers, has shaken our complacency about the positive psychological benefits of religion and invites us to a reconsideration of Sigmund Freud‘s more critical assessment of religious subjectivity and in particular his analogy between religion and obsessional neurosis. …

This article focuses on Lacan‘s eighth seminar on Transference, specifically his references to Plato‘s Symposium, and more particularly the attention he pays therein to the interaction and dialogue between Alcibiades, Socrates and Agathon. Addressed will be Lacan‘s specific take on the development of characters and plot as he outlines the dialectic of love. The interaction between the positions of lover‘ and beloved‘ will be examined as will the progression, according to the law of metaphorical substitution, which culminates in the birth of love. All of this, in an attempt to better appreciate the dynamics of the transference relationship in the psychoanalytic situation.

Keywords: Plato‘s Symposium; transference; love; lover-beloved; dialectic; metaphor 

Love is one aspect of the transference; the other is repetition, the automatism of repetition. Lacan points out that these two aspects can be situated on the Graph of Desire, on the two signifying chains in which the subject is constituted‘ and while he explains that his intention is to join up the two methods of approach‘ to transference, he specifies that he is particularly interested in looking at the consequences [of transference] at the most intimate level of our practice [and therefore in] paying attention…to love‘. It is the love aspect of the transference that will be the specific focus of this paper.

The final part of Guy Le Gaufey‘s book ―Lacan‘s Notall‖ – The Scholion: A  Misuse of Metaphor, translated by Cormac Gallagher, deals with Lacan‘s treatment of the Borromean Knot and his attempt to use logic to deal with the problematic of sexual non-relationship of the inexistence of such a relationship. Le Gaufey traces Lacan‘s efforts to make a distinction between the two but to our surprise he concludes that Lacan felt his attempt ended in a failure – thus calling topology, or one aspect of topology – knot- theory into question.

Keywords: sexual non-relationship; inexistence of relationship; non-enantiomorphic; consistencies; Borromean knot; reversal of perspective 

Quite imperceptibly, between 1972 and 1975, Lacan brings about a slippage in the negation regarding sexual relationship, going from there is no relationship‘ to there is a non-relationship‘, from the inexistence of such a relationship to the existence of such a non-relationship.  The nuance might appear rhetorical if there were not grafted onto it a change of perspective which takes support on the key instrument in the teaching of these years of the seventies:  the Borromean knot. …


This is the unedited text of a talk, given to the ―Matinées de psychothérapie institutionnelle‖, at Facultés Universitaires de Saint-Louis, Brussels on the 24th September 2010 dealing with the problematic of diagnosis in terms of a particular structure of psychosis, neurosis, or perversion. This approach while facilitating communication between clinicians loses sight of the human who is the objectified in the process. Psychoanalysts need to think in terms of what theories/structures they are using as a basis of their knowledge and be aware that these are the scaffolding and not the building. The only thing that can be transmitted in analysis is what you can construct yourself vis use of the matheme.

Keywords: diagnosis, communicate, treat, do no harm, knowledge, structure, courage to know, operation of the matheme, symptoms. 



Elyn Saks lives with her husband in California, where, after a brilliant academic career in some of the world‘s most acclaimed  universities on both sides of the Atlantic—Vanderbilt, Oxford and Yale— she is now a professor of law specialising in mental health. She works also as a research scholar in psychoanalysis. In the final chapter of her memoir The Centre Cannot Hold she expresses her gratitude to the many people and events that have assisted her to have a ‗life worth living‘ despite decades of suffering from schizophrenia…

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