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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.

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