THE LETTER 34 (Summer 2005) pages 70-90
Am I a Lacanian specialist in anxiety?
I do not believe that any specialisation whatsoever makes any sense for a psychoanalyst: ‘being a psychoanalyst’ and ‘being a specialist’ are mutually exclusive. Nevertheless sometimes I am considered to be a specialist in the Lacanian theory and clinic of anxiety. Why?
Long ago I was an assistant at the Department of Psychology of the University of Ghent (Flanders, Belgium). I suppose that at that time I must have been a model representative of the university discourse, because I had this crazy idea that it should be possible to read, understand, classify and combine, everything Freud and Lacan had written and said on any subject, for instance anxiety. So, I embarked upon a doctoral thesis on anxiety.
Fortunately, in the meantime I had also started a psychoanalytic cure, for personal reasons, which of course had to do with my personal anxieties. As it happened, in the course of that analysis, something like a ‘desire to become an analyst’ surfaced. And from that moment on I developed this other, crazy idea that I should head for the analytic position on a double track: on the one hand pushing my own analysis to some kind of logical conclusion, but on the other hand I also stuck to my belief that studying anxiety was essential. Now, looking back, I realise that I was afraid that overcoming my own anxieties, in my own analysis, would not be enough to stand the anxieties I would be confronted with as an analyst. Of course, towards the end of my analysis I dropped that university desire to know everything about whatever, and especially about anxiety. Unfortunately in the meantime I had also successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, bunching ‘all Lacanian knowledge on…