This contribution originates with a number of problems in the current psychodiagnostic and therapeutic field which give rise to important ethical, clinical and scientific questions: questions that, from a broader social perspective, are interrelated. The criteria for psychopathology depend on socially decided norms and values (ethics), which coincide with the societal context. Current neoliberal discourse dictates a medical model that determines the manner in which scientific research is conducted, resulting in so-called evidence-based DSM-based diagnostics. In the clinic, this psychiatric handbook is used to identify individuals that deviate from the proposed criteria, with the goal of treatment to ‘normalise’ them. This is little more than a form of social standardization and patients are becoming increasingly aware of this. However, what little protest has occurred has had correspondingly little impact. Psychotherapy is hence at a tipping point. To protect our discipline, it is necessary to explicitly see the sea in which we all swim and to question our own role in determining the general perspective.
The theme of this paper is the filmic representation of psychoanalysis in Hitchcock’s 1945 blockbuster Spellbound. This movie has been received with mixed feelings by psychoanalysts as portraying the psychoanalytic cure in an idealised and simplified way. This matches the cineaste view that Spellbound is “just another manhunt story wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis” (Truffaut, 1985). In contrast, the author argues that Hitchcock’s filmic translation of Freud’s conception of the timelessness of the unconscious is adequate. More specific, it is argued that the visual representation of the Freudian ideas of i) the dream as via regia to the “other scene”; ii) the etiological development of traumatic neurosis (“Nachträglichkeit”) and iii) the association of past and present via the signifier “kill”, are pertinent. In addition, special attention is paid to the function of the returning visual motif of the parallel lines.
Nowadays, multiculturalism is the target of a lot of criticism. One prominent critic is the Slovenian philosopher and psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek and this article will focus on the main points of his critique. The author examines the extent to which his arguments are valid when considered in the context of the full background of the multiculturalism debate. It will be argued that Žižek does not have a complete understanding of the vision of humanity underpinning the defence of multiculturalism. It will also be argued that Žižek’s plea for a revolutionary politics does not account for the importance of recognition.
Responsibility is a crucial notion in psychoanalysis. This article begins with a discussion of the preliminary sessions and the installation of the supposed subject of knowledge as the clinical moment in which the analysand takes up responsibility for his suffering. The second part of this article deals with the fate of the subject supposed to know in analysis as illustrated by the author’s testimony of a moment of pass in his own analysis. The analysis of two crucial dreams proves both the intransigence of a religious dimension in transference and the responsibility of the analyst in this matter. The final section of this article discusses the way in which this religious dimension can creep into and undermine psychoanalytical associations.
Clinical Case Studies Arthur and Floriane, On the Psychoanalytic Treatment of ‘Learning difficulties’
This article concerns a translation of two case studies from the book Les Cancres n’Existent Pas [Bad Students do not Exist] (1993), in which Anny Cordié interprets the problems children encounter at school in terms of case-specific symptoms functioning within the oedipal context of the subject. The case of Arthur illustrates how the boy’s physical complaint of impaired eyesight and his problems with reading in class can be understood in terms of the contradiction between his mother’s demand for improvement on the one hand and the destructive effect of her desire on the other. Cordié discusses how, from her position as a transference figure, she supports the establishment of the Symbolic father function in a process of triangulation. The second case illustrates how Floriane’s academic difficulties can be understood as a symptomatic answer to something unspoken in the child’s family background. Both case studies illustrate the effect of the removal of the barrier of a ‘not-willing’/ ‘not-being allowed’ to know on the development of a child.