Psychoanalysis and Education: Is it possible to fail successfully? An exploration starting from D.W. Winnicott

According to Freud, psychoanalysis and education are considered as two impossible professions, both necessarily failing on the rock of castration. At this point the subject has to create an original construct. It is argued that the theoretical concepts good enough mother and true self can be read as the particular constructs of the subject D.W. Winnicott. His particular position towards castration is explored as revealed in the idea of the transitional object. It is not only the content of his work, but, perhaps more importantly, also his style of writing that tries to “hold” the reader. It is precisely in his ideas about a good enough mother/good enough analyst who knows how to hold the child/patient in order to create a true self, that Winnicott’s solution for the impossible professions is found. Psychoanalysis and education are thus conceived of as transforming into another potentially impossible profession: that of creating a desiring subject.

Working and the Death Drive: On Literature and Children with Behavior Disorder

With reference to Mannoni (1979), it is argued that the clinical practitioner must, based on his own experience, continuously “retranslate” his theoretical language into his mother tongue. As an example, this paper focusses on how the author retranslates the Freudian notion of the death drive and Lacan’s category of the real, based on his educational and therapeutic work with children with behavior disorder. It is argued that these theoretical conceptions cover something that is not there but that nevertheless is operative. What is one to do when confronted with something that is not there but nevertheless is operative? The answer proposed is that one has to inscribe the subject in the sexual relation through the act of writing. This directive is illustrated via clinical work with children suffering from a psychically “silent” mother and is argued through a revisiting of the work of Fernando Pessoa.

Approaching the Impossible

Working with psychic suffering one is often confronted with feelings of impotence. Yet this is not a necessary consequence of the impossibility proper to the professions of educating, analysing or governing. Throughout the essays of Imre Kertész, the impossibility – or the unthinkable – is conceived of as proper to the relation between experience and language. A specific example is encountered in what is called the negative experience. Speaking and writing are treated as two distinct possibilities in the encounter with the impossible.

The unnameable voice of Beckett

What is there to say when there is no story, how to speak about the experience of reading, of reading Beckett. Not speaking about, but within a text, to continue the text, not deprived of hysteria, to start saying something else with the same words, always a new beginning. To experience as such psychical notions that do not exclude each other but rather produce a tension: reading/writing, to disappear/to appear, pleasure/jouïssance. To name this field of tension the drive, in this case, the case of reading Beckett, in particular the drive of the voice that comes to the surface whilst reading.

The Odd and the Institution: A Letter to the Stranger of Camus

In a letter addressed to Meursault, the stranger in Albert Camus’ novel of the same name, we try to grasp the significance an institution can have for the human being. For instance in the novel it is clear that Meursault is content in his position of the accused. Perhaps the institution functions as a protective shield, or acquires a translating or mediating role between actuality and history, between guilt and anxiety, between the familiar and the strange.