The aim of the psychoanalytical cure: to assume existential guilt … and beyond

The aim of the psychoanalytic cure is here considered as the movement which targets the subject’s assumption of its existential guilt, i.e., the guilt resulting from not living up to its destiny as inscribed by the Other. Through the psychoanalytic work the patient is confronted with the unconscious inscription of his being, as well as with the guilt resulting from not being able to meet this inscription. In this way, gradually, the preconditions are laid down for a process of mourning, i.e., for a process of disidentification, that may provoke anxiety. Beyond the assumption of existential guilt, desire is articulated more freely, which enables a different positioning of the subject towards the other, towards love, towards knowledge.

Free association: talk! … and the other side?

In this article the author tries to problematize and to specify the place of free association within the psychoanalytic cure: this (free?) talking is fundamental to the psychoanalytic method. The starting point is the investigation of some problems in clinical practice, where the drive or jouissance appears in the act of speaking (or in the refusal to talk) – beyond the dimension of the signifier. This is the background for an investigation of the works of Freud and Lacan. First we try to specify the origin of the technique in Freuds works. Then we focus on Lacan’s reworking: from ‘saying everything’ to ‘say wathever comes to mind, say stupid things without hesitation’. The advantage of the latter is that it clarifies the connection between talking and the economy of pleasure or jouissance. This provides an opportunity to answer our questions in a new way. The accent shifts to the ethics of psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic act.

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Unhinging the familiar: The uncanny in Henry James’s The turn of the screw

The Turn of the Screw (1898) is one of the most Gothic short stories ever written by modernist author Henry James. Its effect on the reader can be quite unnerving, uncanny even. Though Sigmund Freud’s essay on The Uncanny (1919a) has often been used by scholars of Gothic literature to define and explain certain thematic aspects of these stories (the double, castration anxiety, repetition compulsion, and so on), the uncanny in The Turn of the Screw goes further than the usual suspects. Rather then confining it to the eerie appearance of ghosts or the declining mental state of the tale’s female narrator, the uncanny in James’s complex story can be traced back to something more fundamental that is both tangible and elusive at the same time: the actual text supporting the story – or failing to do so. Reconsidering Freud’s notion of the uncanny from a basic Lacanian perspective will help to explore a dark, distressing dimension of textual language that can otherwise be easily overlooked.

“I want to be a parasite in your body”. On a particular case of transference love.

In this case study of a thirty year old woman, we address the question of a particular form of transference love. Freud pointed out that the therapeutic functioning of a psychoanalytic cure relies on transference and that the development of this transference is based on our passions: love and hate. The position of abstinence adopted by the psychoanalyst creates, inevitably at times, a situation of unrequited love. The way in which the patient handles this structural impossibility of her love demands transforms her analytical adventure into a painful existential experience which allows us to question the very meaning of the (psychoanalytic) experience.

On Psychoanalytic Technique as foundation for the investigation of Creativity

Can psychoanalytic technique be used to investigate creativity? With reference to MacMillan’s work (MacMillan et al., 2003) on Freud’s essay on the Moses of Michelangelo (Freud, 1914b), the author begins this article by arguing that this is not always productive. In Freud’s analysis of Michelangelo’s sculpture and of the artist’s intentions, Freud made use of introspection in a way that is analogous to the free floating attention of psychoanalysts. However, Freud’s construction can be discredited when one takes into account: 1. Michelangelo’s original plan for the tomb of Julius II; 2. two iconographical conventions used by the artist; and 3. the biblical text. The author goes on to argue that psychoanalytic technique can provide an adequate frame of reference for research on creation and creativity. Besides the speech of the artist, he discovers in the aim of repetition a handle on the interpretation of art. This point of view is illustrated with the work of Johan Clarysse, Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Auster.

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The poetical identity implosion of Fernando Pessoa – a psychoanalytical reading and interpretation of a literary oeuvre

First and foremost, this article deals with the process of reading and interpreting the oeuvre of the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Furthermore, it wants to examine whether freudo-lacanian psychoanalysis anno 2008 is still relevant for analysing and unlocking the personality structure of an author. By means of four central remarks this article describes the practical and theoretical pitfalls the interpreter must be aware of if he to avoid losing sight of the oeuvre and person of Pessoa. The article ends with illustrating how psychoanalysis, in order to analyse the personality of Pessoa based on some biographical elements and his literary inheritance, forces the interpreter into a continuing process of reflection. In conclusion the author stresses the importance of an attitude that does not trivialize the gap between the (symbolic) dimensions of knowledge and the (real) dimension of truth that lies beyond every theory.