Tom De Belie – A Structural Diagnosis of Toxicmania

THE LETTER 21 (Spring 2001) pages 55-79

Toxicomania and the Psychoanalytic Field

The work of the analyst is sometimes described as to allow the analysand to unpack his suitcases which up to then he dragged with him full of unnecessary ballast, so that a new journey can begin with less baggage. The way in which an analyst attempts to make this possible is by presenting the analysand with a bag with a hole in it. The analysand, in unpacking his suitcases, is eager to try to fill the bag of the analyst, in order to leave him to decide which items to bring and which not. The analyst’s task is to keep the bag open all the time. However, because of the hole, everything that goes in the bag, inevitably ends up on the floor. In the end, depressed by his vain attempts to involve the analyst in choosing and provided with a better overview of the contents of his luggage, the analysand decides to fill his own suitcases again, leaving the rubbish to keep company with the holed bag of the analyst.

It is not difficult to recognize in this metaphor the encounter between the discourse of the analyst and the hysteric’s discourse in psychoanalytic treatment. The hysteric’s discourse is the discourse into which the analysand is forced by the analytic discourse that the analyst adopts. This is only possible when we are dealing with analytic symptoms, that is, symptoms that are governed by SI, the phallic signifier…


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