This critical analysis of both the foundation and the organisation of the psychiatric institution, and of the way in which staff function and patients are treated, shows that unconscious mechanisms of the human psyche rule the institution in the same destructive manner as they do in the outside world. The institution is not a rational construction nor is it run by special driving forces, but rather is a place where the repetition of psychic tragedies and the drama of Eros and Thanatos prevail. Further, it functions as an overall mothering and securing structure where, when things go wrong, the fatherly repressive side takes the upper hand. And what of the rights of the patient? What kind of humanity drives the work within an institution? The author argues that the psychoanalyst plays a permanent subversive role within the institution, in order to make new effects possible, provided that the specific ethics of the psychoanalytic discourse are taken into account.
This interview investigates the making of Pascal Poissonnier’s (1973) film Walking Back to Happiness (2010) in which the cineast recounts how he uncovered a long-held family secret concerning the identity of the natural father of his father. The dialogue focusses, on the following aspects: 1. The effect of the camera on speech; 2. Fatherhood and the Name-of-the-Father; 3. The influence of the cineast’s own analysis on the making of his film; 4. His family history; 5. His relationship with his father; 6. His film education; and 7. The influence of his theatre experience.
Trauma beyond the Biomedical Paradigm: Avenues for a Subject-oriented and Contextual Trauma Approach
This article provides a succinct overview of the structure and key findings of a psychoanalytically inspired theoretical doctoral thesis on psychological trauma. Starting from four core criticisms directed at the hegemonic, biomedical PTSD-model of trauma, the author makes use of the works of Jacques Lacan, Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek (amongst others) to develop a trauma framework that counters the current tendency to (1) conceptualise traumatic etiology in a mechanistic fashion, (2) to individualize, (3) decontextualize and (4) depoliticize trauma. One clear conclusion is that (the success of) the PTSD-model of trauma is dependent on an implicit yet well-defined ethical position, mirroring the prevailing ethical stance in the West – beyond any strictly scientific claims. The author argues that the pitfalls of this model can be avoided by acknowledging the dimension of the Real and incorporating the notion of the act in our understanding of trauma and its treatment.
Interactions between Neurotic Symptoms and Interpersonal Dynamics throughout Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Four Empirical Case Studies
This article is a version of an oral presentation delivered on 22/09/2016 as part of the public defence of a doctoral dissertation entitled “Interactions between neurotic symptoms and interpersonal dynamics throughout psychodynamic psychotherapy: Four empirical case studies” (2012-2016, Department of Psychoanalysis and Clinical Consulting of Ghent University, funded by the Special Research Fund). It provides an overview of the doctoral project, including research design, methodology, analytic approach, main findings and concludes with plausible interpretations within a structural, psychodynamic framework. Starting from the key concept of symptom specificity in theoretical and clinical work, inconsistent findings from previous studies were related to a number of conceptual and methodological issues. Subsequently, an alternative research design was introduced: throughout four empirical (multiple source – multiple method) single case studies (two based on hysterical symptoms and two on obsessional complaints), a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed within the data-analytic framework of Consensual Qualitative Research for Case Studies (CQR-c). Significant similarities and differences across the main findings from the four studies were critically analysed, and discussed in the light of structural psychodiagnostics and psychodynamic practice.