Freud’s Use of Construction: Contribution to the History of Psychoanalytic Technique

In this paper the author investigates the precise manner in which Freud applied the technique of construction in his clinical practice. Not withstanding the fact that construction comprised an obvious part of Freud’s technique, he seldom mentioned it in his works. Light is shed on Freud’s technique of construction by revisiting the analogies he used to describe psychoanalytic practice, i.e., the psychoanalyst as archeologist (1937d) and psychoanalysis as travel (1920a), and the sixth and seventh sessions of his analysis of the Ratman (1909d). It appears that for Freud construction not only formed an integral part of his technique but was also the focus of a dialectical working through. Attention is paid to the role of working through in the subjectivation process as part of the psychoanalytic cure. To conclude, the author presents a third analogy in order to elucidate the range of the technique of construction: the analogy of an oeuvre.


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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.

On the Drive-like Status of Knowledge

The first part of this paper investigates the status of knowledge. Starting from the general question of whether knowledge can prevent Evil, it is argued that in the particular case of Martin Heidegger reason was powerless against hatred. Next, the question posed by Einstein to Freud in 1932 (whether or not psychoanalysis is capable of diffusing hatred), is addressed. This historical correspondence leads the author to characterise knowledge as having a drive-like status: Not only is the epistemological drive a substitute for infantile sexual curiosity, it is first and foremost a drive to overpower (Bemächtigungstrieb). Finally, Foucault’s Il faut défendre la société (1997) teaches that the ideal of “The” science attributes the status of power to knowledge, an ideal that also holds for psychoanalysis, notwithstanding that the latter does not meet scientific criteria. In the second part of the paper, the way in which the relation between knowledge and power can manifest itself in the psychoanalytical cure is illustrated with the case of Guillaume.

Freud and the Metaphors of Writing

In this paper, our point of departure is Plato’s Phaedrus-dialogue, in which the role and meaning of writing for memory are assessed, focusing special attention on Plato’s evaluation of writing. The use of writing-metaphors in elaborating the model of the psychic apparatus in a number of Freud’s texts is also discussed. Relying on Derrida’s interpretation (1967), the Project (1950c [1895]) is our starting point and the Note on the Wonder-block of 30 years later rounds off the discussion. Tracing Freud’s development, it becomes apparent that the model of the psychic apparatus gains support as the notion of facilitation is further elaborated based on the metaphor of writing or letter. The Platonic distinction between writing as supporting memory and writing as a “true writing in the soul” is encountered again in Freud’s work.

Psychoanalytic Pedagogy put to the Test through the Work in ‘Zonnelied’

In this contribution the possibility of a psychoanalytic pedagogy is tested by the practical experience of work in Zonnelied, a residential setting for mentally disabled persons, some of whom also have psychiatric or behavioural problems. The author classifies the way of working within Zonnelied as directive, educational and supportive while being informed by the ethics of psychoanalysis. The following topics are discussed and illustrated with clinical fragments: how the structure of the institution functions as an instrument for the education of patients and as anchoring point for patients as well as for members of the team; patients’ identification with their negligent parents; the provision of points of reference within and beyond the community; the particular history of the patients and patterns of repetition; and, a continuous interrogation by team members of their own desire to educate.

Mishima’s “L’école de la chair”: The Educational Drive and Other Aspects of Perversion

In this paper the author revisits Mishima’s L’école de la chair (1993) through an explorative questioning of the Japanese writer with respect to the structure of perversion. Rather than starting from an a priori formulated theory on perversion, Mishima’s work is read in an open way that results in a series of themes. In addition to the opposites characteristic of Mishima’s oeuvre, the following themes emerge: the educational drive; the psychological insight; the knowledge and the use of this knowledge in eroticism and love; homosexual eroticism; the contract; the jouissance; contempt and humiliation; and fantasy. L’ecole de la chair teaches us about perversion, especially with respect to the educational drive, that is when the latter serves other than strictly educational aims, such as humiliation. Finally, the author considers some aspects of C. Millot’s Gide, Genet, Mishima, Intelligence de la perversion (1996).