On Structure and Function in Freud’s Metapsychology: an Historic Approach

This paper begins by outlining the debate at the beginning of the twentieth century between structuralist and functionalist psychology. We examine some of the consequences of emphasizing either the functional or the structural properties of the mental apparatus. The functional explanation finds its most extreme example in Watson’s behaviorism. Then we examine Freud’s notion of the mental apparatus. We find that in the metapsychology of 1915 Freud gives priority to a structural explanation of mental phenomena, while in the metapsychology of 1923 he constructs the mental apparatus as being divided into functional units.

Suicide and Death-Drives

The death-drive runs as a red thread through a reading of Lacan. Starting from a clinic of suicide, Lacan proposes a theory whih is based on a split that is present at every level of the human structure: the real (biological), the imaginary (narcissistic), the symbolic (linguistic), up to and including the fantasma (primordial masochism). We attempt to draw a lesson from this concerning the cure and the problematic field of mental health.

‘Vergänglichkeit’ and Death: a Comment on some Freudian Texts

This article addresses the problem of the impossibility of a psychoanalytic Weltanschauung through a reading of Freud’s texts on war, death and transience and with reference to Freud’s membership of the B’nai B’rith. The link with clinical material leads the author to conclude that Freud’s insight into human nature, while enthusiastic, lacks optimism.

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“Why return?”, On the Notion of the “Wiederkehr” and its Implications for the Clinic of Toxicomania

This paper reviews the Freudian notion of the “Wiederkehr”, or “return”, as elaborated in Lacan’s Seminar on The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis. Futhermore, the author describes how the possibility of a return is implied in the psychoanalytic intervention strategy on a psychiatric ward for crisis intervention with drug addicts.

Manifestations of Thanatos, when the Demand for Love elicits a Negative Response

Based on clinical experience, this article examines some manifestations of the death-drive in relation to Lacan’s hypothesis that unwanted children are often prone to commit suicide. When the subject’s demand for love is repeatedly met with a negative response, the result is often a breaking-up of the death-drive. Different manifestations of the death-drive can be a response to the old death-wishes of the mother.

The Death Drive, regarding the Real

Where do we find the link between the Freudian death drive and the Lacanian Real? In this theoretical enquiry we trace the relationship between the growing pains of the death drive and the Real in the writings of Freud and Lacan. With Freud we examine the place of the death drive in a theoretical framework. This search inevitably leads to the constitution of the pleasure experience which is very hard to understand in relation to the death drive. We run into the trauma, which is the pleasurable encounter with the Real. Next we concentrate on the Lacanian elaboration of the death drive in the coming into being of the subject. Through this, we stumble upon the Real as that enigmatic category which escapes any elaboration. This Real is then examined in combination with the death drive in an attempt to formulate their relationship. The Borromean Knot of the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary in masochism concludes this paper.