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Summary: This paper aims to discuss substance use and abuse as falling beyond the pleasure principal and the deficiencies of CBT in the treatment of substance use disorders. As we continue to ponder the beginning and ending of a pandemic, lurking close behind, is the epidemic of overdoses and substance abuse. This epidemic occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only to be exacerbated by it. Rather than viewing substance use as mere mechanical activity of our bodies in functions, what we can aim to understand better is how our repetitions and behavior express some sort of desire, wish, or fantasy. In the movie Another Round (2020), it is presented that according to Norwegian psychiatrist, Finn Skårderud, human beings are born with a blood alcohol content that is 0.05% too low. This concept would add further nuance to the terms ‘substance use,’ ‘misuse,’ and ‘abuse.’ In the Critique of Practical Reason, Kant explains the thought experiment of the Gallows Man (1998, 5:30), to convey his understanding of people’s prioritization of life over lust. He also explains that a cost-benefit analysis is not enough to prioritize life. Yet, other therapeutic modalities for substance treatment encourage the use of decisional balance worksheets and cost/benefit analyses. A psychoanalytic understanding of substance use and abuse would help unveil the desire and meaning of this activity. It is not just about controlling our brain’s biochemistry or ‘self-medicating,’ but rather, an exploration of what the substance and its use really provides for the individual. In other words, substance use, misuse, or abuse, and the language used to describe the patterns and rituals of the individual are not simply cognitive and behavioral, but more so, fantastical, emotional, and dream-like.


Abstract: Freud’s analysis of crowd psychology is the final result of the traumatic impact of the Great War. First, he introduced the notion of death-drive as the dimension beyond the pleasure-principle; then, he analyzed the formation of social groups which bring individuals to forsake their ‘rational’ behavior and surrender to self-destructive violence. Freud’s analysis should be supplemented by Lacan’s distinctions between superego, Ego- Ideal and ideal ego – through this triad, we can understand today’s rise of the new figure of obscene Master.


Abstract: This commentary of Freud’s seminal essay from 1921, Mass-psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, celebrating the 100th anniversary of its publication, is an experiment in reading the text and assessing its problems at the intersection of several perspectives: it relies on the inclusion of the text within successive textual ‘constellations’ which involve the recognition that a political element is intrinsic to the construction of psychoanalytical concepts, and the possibility of using psychoanalysis as a framework for the analysis of contemporary enduring forms of institutional racism, which reacts on our understanding of psychoanalysis itself. What emerges is a remarkable figure of representation and elusion of the State as an agency of identification and repression organizing the psychic apparatus from without.

Klein Revisited: A Re-evaluation of Klein’s Meaning for Psychoanalysis

This contribution re-evaluates the theoretical foundations of Kleinian psychoanalysis. Both the resistance to her work outside England and the relevance it has for working with children and psychotic patients are considered. Klein stresses the crucial importance of constitutional elements in psychic development and consequently focuses on internal dispositions and fantasies. The concepts of death-drive, continuity between normality and pathology, projective identification, and unconscious fantasy are explained and illustrated with clinical material. Finally their consequences for our diagnostic and therapeutic thinking are considered.

Manifestations of Thanatos, when the Demand for Love elicits a Negative Response

Based on clinical experience, this article examines some manifestations of the death-drive in relation to Lacan’s hypothesis that unwanted children are often prone to commit suicide. When the subject’s demand for love is repeatedly met with a negative response, the result is often a breaking-up of the death-drive. Different manifestations of the death-drive can be a response to the old death-wishes of the mother.