Words still matter: Lacan and the role of the signifier in therapy today

In 1966, Lacan wrote “On an Ex Post Facto Syllabary”, a short rarely read essay that holds a key to what is radical and still important regarding what makes psychoanalysis relevant today, and that is the role of the signifier and the symbolic in mental health treatment. The following article describes Lacan’s critique of Herbert Silberer’s concept of the functional phenomenon as an example of the resistance that theorists and practitioners have towards the role of the unconsious and the symbolic. This is a detailed look at Lacan’s critique, and how the imaginary is still a trap, as well as a discussion of how a focus on the signifier and language serves as an alternative.