How ‘normal’ is ‘pathological’? Psychiatry and clinical psychology as a new means of disciplining.

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.

Logical time. A concept illustrated by the clinic

This article is in three parts. The first part follows J.-A. Miller’s thinking on the unconscious as a subject, as a want-to-be, which gives it an ethical, rather than an ontological, status. This way of thinking is not only in opposition to, but in my opinion also in addition to, a classical mechanical way of thinking about the unconscious. The second part presents the concept of “logical time” and comments briefly on Lacan’s article “Le temps logique et l’assertion de certitude anticipée”. Both in this theoretical part and in the third part, a case study, we find arguments for the position that the unconscious, and psychoanalysis itself, should be approached from an ethical perspective, especially at the point where we meet the S(A/ ).