Tom Dalzell – Psychoanalytic Treatment of Psychosis – A Later Lacanian Critique of the 388 in Québec City

THE LETTER 55 & 56 Spring/Summer 2014, pages 93-102.

This paper attempts to assess the psychoanalytic treatment of psychotic illness at a publicly funded centre in Canada. This treatment ‘after Lacan’ is thought to amount to treating delusions with the patient’s own dreams, or subordinating the Imaginary to the Symbolic. As a critique ‘after the later Lacan’, the paper draws on current debate and practice in France which applies the later Lacan’s turn to the Real, and in particular his theory of knots, to the treatment of psychotic illness.

Keywords: Lacan; psychosis; borromean knot; Real; Symbolic; Imaginary; names of the father; The 388 


The 388 is a centre for the psychoanalytic treatment of psychotic patients in Québec City in Canada. When Willy Apollon and others firstintroduced Lacan’s teaching to the members of GIFRIC Group interdisciplinaire Freudien de recherche et d’intervention clinique and at the University of Laval in the mid-1970s and 80s, they believed that Lacan’s approach to psychosis pro-vided only preliminary remarks rather than definiteguidelines for the psycho-analytic treatment of psychotic illnesses. Hence the title of the collection of essays by Apollon, Danielle Bergeron, and Lucie Cantin, all training analysts in GIFRIC, After Lacan. Clinical Practice and the Subject of the Unconscious.

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