20 Years of Psychoanalytic Training in The Freudian School of Melbourne
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Logos: 20 Years of Psychoanalytic Training in the Freudian School of MelbourneView PDF

David Pereira * Analyst of the School. The Freudian School of Melbourne, School of Lacanian Psychoanalysis

“We know the price which Freud had to pay for allowing the psychoanalytic group to dominate the discourse, thus becoming a Church. The International, for that is its name, reduces itself to a symptom which Freud expected it to be.” J. Lacan 1 Lacan, J. Letter of Dissolution, in ‘A Note of Letter 52 of Freud and on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis; the Dissolution of l’Ecole Freudienne de Paris’, Oscar Zentner (ed.), Melbourne, 1979.

“It disturbs those who have been so busy trying to represent me … J. Lacan 2 Lacan, J. The Seminar, Paris, June 10th 1980, in Papers of the Freudian School of Melbourne, Oscar Zentner (ed.), Melbourne, 1980.

The Freudian School of Melbourne was founded in 1977, three years prior to the dissolution of l’Ecole Freudienne de Paris in 1980. At the conclusion of Lacan’s Letter of Dissolution published in the first volume of the Papers of the Freudian School of Melbourne, Oscar Zenter writes:

“I founded the Freudian School of Melboune in 1977. My intention since then has been clear: to speak psychoanalysis without concessions in order to recover the Freudian experience, namely, the subversion of the subject. 3 Zentner, O. ‘A Note on Letter 52 of Freud and on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis; the Dissolution of l’Ecole Freudienne de Paris.’

What is “psychoanalysis without concessions”? Firstly, that we should at least learn of the dangers of that form of social link – the discourse of the group – which Lacan, foresaw as antithetical to the psychoanalytic discourse. For this reason, that for the psychoanalyst there can be no recourse other than psychoanalysis itself, has the Freudian School of Melbourne declined to be other than independent. The reasons, therefore, are central to the logic of psychoanalysis itself. The impossibility to which the psychoanalytic experience leads will require from each one a choice: either no recourse other than psychoanalysis itself, or of the invocation of an absolute Other, only too happy to legislate in the field of this impossibility.

Nowhere has this been clearer than in the twenty years of formation of psychoanalysts within the School, whereby the desire of the analyst as an effect of an encounter with an impossibility is privileged over the legislation of this desire.

That such a problematic exists in psychoanalysis is a consequence of the fact that the formation of a psychoanalyst is not of the same order as a scientific or professional training, carried out through universities and professional organisations, referring to a pre-elaborated and pre-constituted knowledge, and ultimately to the exigency of a certain ideal – that of the master as legislator of desire.

Lacan developed the theory of the desire of the analyst against the idea of the legislation of his being. A being which supports itself in relation to a series of recognisable attributes, underwritten by an identification with an ideal position. This is to say that psychoanalysts run the risk of being defined by the fact that they constitute a set by the existence of one or more attributes which they have in common and through which they recognise themselves and each other. It appears to be these attributes, founding what we may refer to as a logic of the multiple, that are said to define a psychoanalyst. Within this conception. The formation becomes to be a means of acquiring such attributes. One cannot ignore here the disposition to a moral position predicated upon the association between formation and conforming.

It is an attempt to question this logic of the multiple and its impasses that Lacan theorises the question of the formation and recognition of analysts from the position of what we might refer to as the logic of the One, or better, the logic of the One’s. These “One’s” push forward the very function of the signifier; that is to say that the training, function and recognition of the analyst is not separable from the function of language itself and therefore of the unconscious. This is clearly something which problematizes the whole question of training and what is transmitted.

Now, Lacan claimed that he never spoke of formation of analysts, only the formations of the unconscious. The maxim most often associated with the question of formation – that an analyst only authorises him or herself from him or herself…and others – is completely dependent on the former assertion concerning the formations of the unconscious. That is, that self-authorisation requires the prior articulation of the status of the formation of the analyst with respect to the question of the formations of the unconscious, for it to be in any way meaningful.


The being of the analyst and the desire of the analyst

The Lacanian critique, beginning with the fact that Lacan says that he never spoke of the formation of analyst, only the formations of the unconscious, poses against this idea of the being of the analyst the desire of the analyst. With the notion of the desire of the analyst as such there is a development of the Freudian position on the analyst’s unconscious as instrument. Thus, the question of what a psychoanalyst is, is less a question of his being than that of his function; a function which is pronounced in reference to the desire of the analyst.

We have here a shift from the ontic to the ethical consistent with Lacan’s proposition concerning the ethical status of the unconscious, leaving not the being of the analyst, but his unbeing. A formation, therefore never guarantees the being of the analyst.

The concept of the desire of the analyst constitutes an attempt to differentiate psychoanalysis from the church and the army – as analysed by Freud – where one finds an identification of the ego with the ideal image which founds the logic of the multiple, the group, the collective organised around a set of fixed signs, with no other recourse than the “narcissism of little differences.” It is not difficult to recognise here a function of the ideal which underwrites such an identity. This ideal is that which the being comes to value and be valued as in relation to its compatibility and harmony with respect to an ordinal instance.

The point, however, is that the qualities of the being of the analyst may have little to do with what the analyst does; and what does Lacan say that analyst does? Operate ethically with desire.

This is why we maintain that the analyst is not founded on the logic of the multiple, but occupies the place of an “identity crisis” insofar as that place maintains a maximum distance between identification and desire; between the ideal and the object – that maximum distance in which Lacan recognises the desire of the analyst.

This, of course, again problematizes the whole notion of formation and what is transmitted.

The desire of the analyst and the transmission of theory

The primacy of the formations of the unconscious – making the analyst form part of the conception of the unconscious – over and above any formation of the analyst, inscribes a difference between what may be involved in a psychoanalytic formation and that in another field such as psychiatry or physics, for example. Psychoanalysis is not able to be transmitted in the same way – through the acquisition of a knowledge. If the function of the psychoanalyst is not able to be taught, as Lacan has repeated, it is because desire, as unconscious, is indispensable to the functioning of the psychoanalyst. One may teach a knowledge, but one may not teach a desire predicated upon a not-known knowledge.

Freud had made reference to this in the following way:

“Some years ago I gave an answer to the question of how one can become an analyst: ‘By analysing one’s own dreams.’ This preparation is no doubt enough for many people. But not for everyone who wishes to learn analysis. Nor can everyone succeed in interpreting his own dreams without outside help. I count it as one of the many merits of the Zurich school of analysis that they have laid increased emphasis on this requirement, and have embodied it in the demand that everyone who wishes to carry out analyses on the other people shall first himself undergo an analysis by someone with expert knowledge….(through this) impressions and convictions will be gained in relation to oneself which will be sought in vain from studying books and attending lectures.

(…) But anyone who has scorned to take the precaution of being analysed himself will not merely be punished by being incapable of learning more than a certain amount from his patients… He will easily fall into the temptation of projecting outwards some of the peculiarities of his own personality…. 4 Freud, S. Recommendation to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis (1912). St. Ed. Vol. XII, p. 116.

The relation of desire to theory is different from the relation to a constituted knowledge, or a recourse to previous knowledge’s. The theory, insofar as it concerns itself with an encounter with psychoanalysis, rather than with a “learning” or digestion of Freudian, Lacanian theory, is situated as an effect of desire. Hence, there is no opposition for the analyst between practice and theory.


Desire of the analyst, desire to be an analyst, the analysis of the analyst

As we noted earlier, Freud regarded the analysis itself as revealing “impressions and convictions”, that may not be gained through other means. These impressions and convictions are those that are indispensable to the practice of psychoanalysis but not so for other practices.

If we examine this assertion of Lacan’s closely – that he does not speak of the formation of analysts but of the formations of the unconscious – we see that it must involve a further proposition: that the desire of the analyst may not be an effect of itself from itself. There is another term we have to take into account – the desire to become a psychoanalyst. This term, in its turn is dependent upon the demand for formation, and the way in which this demand is situated in relation to the requirement of a personal analysis.

The demand for the prospective analyst to have an analysis is, more often than not, situated on the side of the institution. This rendered the analysis necessary, alienating the desire to become an analyst in the demand of the institution. Such effectively annuls the function of the desire of the analyst in favour of his institutional being. If, however, following Lacan, we say the so-called didactic analysis is the analysis par excellence, this does not refer to the fact that there are two analyses, but that the analysis of the one who becomes a psychoanalyst proves itself to have been the analysis par excellence, not in being demanded as necessary, but in creating the possibility of an opening for one becoming a psychoanalyst. 5 Cf. Oscar Zentner’s ‘Of Psychoanalysis – What is Transmitted is not Taught. In Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Felicity Bagot, Linda Clifton and David Pereira (Eds.) 1992.

An effect of such a proposition is that each analyst has to re-invent psychoanalysis; each formation, therefore, is not a con-formation, nor confirmation, but a deformation; a necessary deformation consistent with the reinvention of psychoanalysis by each in the course of their analysis. A transmission may only be possible as that which concerns the relation to the unconscious that each analyst reformulates with each analysand.

The desire of the analyst, then, finds its point of departure in the process of the cure. In effect, the desire to become an analyst almost always precedes the analysis which a candidate and perhaps any analysand, undertakes, and the process of the cure points this out by bringing it to the point of its efficacy – as a signifier.

The desire to be an analyst then, is firstly produced in its particularity as the desire of an analyst. That is, the imaginary aspects which sustain the demand for formation – notions of belonging to a class, to a set – in being analysed, leave the symbolic particularity of the desire of an analyst. This in turn, in its encounter with its ownmost impossibility, produces the desire of the analyst as that residue of the symptom which was expressed as the demand to become an analyst, the demand for a formation.

The writing of Lacan which is the Borromean Knot produces the subject through naming and knotting – the knotting of the desire of the analyst to that which remains irreducible in the symptom expressed as the demand to become an analyst.

It is in this sense, then, that proceeds that naming function of self-authorisation which is the resort of the structurally instransmissible. That is, there is an encounter with an impossible, which, in the absence of recourse to legislation, finds its effectiveness in the naming function. It is the real that is at play in the formation of any analyst; the means by which the desire of the analyst finds its naming effect.

Finally, Safouan notes that the subject who only authorises himself from himself, only in fact authorises himself in the face of this statement and not from a particular and personal – that is as concerns the process of the cure – enunciation. Therefore the statement as slogan of the – “If I want then I can” – disavows the necessity of the specificity of the desire of the analyst to be effected as a result of the analysis and that which remains as irreducible in the symptom. Here we find an erroneous interpretation of the notion of self-authorisation put forward as a position of voluntarism – that one decides one day to declare oneself a psychoanalyst. Self-authorisation, rather, is a response to an impasse in relation to knowledge and desire that is an effect of the analysis itself, finding its support in its own created utterance, its own formation as a de-formation of the Lacanian maxim as statement.

In the place of the originality which this makes possible, The Freudian School of Melbourne: School of Lacanian Psychoanalysis, has, and continues to transmit psychoanalysis and form psychoanalysts – without concessions.


References

* Analyst of the School. The Freudian School of Melbourne, School of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. ^

1 Lacan, J. Letter of Dissolution, in ‘A Note of Letter 52 of Freud and on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis; the Dissolution of l’Ecole Freudienne de Paris’, Oscar Zentner (ed.), Melbourne, 1979. ^

2 Lacan, J. The Seminar, Paris, June 10th 1980, in Papers of the Freudian School of Melbourne, Oscar Zentner (ed.), Melbourne, 1980. ^

3 Zentner, O. ‘A Note on Letter 52 of Freud and on the Ethics of Psychoanalysis; the Dissolution of l’Ecole Freudienne de Paris.’ ^

4 Freud, S. Recommendation to Physicians Practising Psycho-Analysis (1912). St. Ed. Vol. XII, p. 116. ^

5 Cf. Oscar Zentner’s ‘Of Psychoanalysis – What is Transmitted is not Taught. In Papers of The Freudian School of Melbourne, Felicity Bagot, Linda Clifton and David Pereira (Eds.) 1992.^



Compiled in écritique