“Morphogenesis” of the body: marked by the signifier?

Starting from a number of remarks and hypotheses of authors such as Georg Groddeck, Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Jean Guir and Colette Soler about the entanglement of psyche and body, which, amongst other things, manifests itself in the activation of latent genes under the influence of specific signifiers, the author explores the influence of the signifier on the development of the shape of the body. Her analytical practice led her to hypothesize that some aspects of the body – mainly those that carry an erotic meaning – are marked by the signifier in the development of their shape, according to an analogous structural dynamic such as those that occur in psychosomatic phenomena. This hypothesis about the “morphogenesis” of the body is illustrated using a number of brief clinical fragments. One particular case highlights how a woman, in order to satisfy the desire of her mother for a son, unconsciously tries to become a man via a body dysmorphia, which manifests itself in the real of the body via deregulation, increased height, and acromegalia, which results in the body taking on a male shape.

The nature of the tension between Pedagogic Norms and Psychoanalytic Ethics. Clinical reflections based on work with a seventeen year-old adolescent.

The author focuses on the ethical aspects of work in an institution with youngsters whose problematic behaviour deviates from societal norms. A central element in this work concerns tension in the relationship between pedagogical norms and psychoanalytical ethics. The ethics of psychoanalysis translates to: (1) the level of policy; as well as to (2) the level of the clinic around which this policy is being constructed; and last, but not least, to (3) the level of the subject who finds him or herself within the institution. Some theoretical guidelines of Lacan support this threefold translation. In this process, the concept of ‘neutrality of the analyst’ will be confronted with the norm as the incarnation of the ‘desire of the Other’. The value of this theoretically founded ethical attitude is illustrated through the clinical work with a seventeen year-old boy.

Forgotten voids in the Gaze. On Melancholia

The author reports on some structuring moments in the etiological history of melancholia from a metapsychological point of view. It is argued that this clinical picture tends to be too readily categorised as psychotic, leaving open the question of its psychic structure. Freud’s findings from the article “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917e [1915]) are examined along with the work of M.-C. Lambotte (1993) and J. Hassoun (1995). Melancholia is described as suffering caused by a lack of symbolisation of object a, through which mourning is made possible. The focus is on a crucial etiological moment in the very coming into being of the subject. This moment is connected to a failed inscription of the desire of the first Other. The importance of the gaze on the object of desire emerges – in more than just its metaphoric dimension – as determining for identification and the libidinal economy of the subject. This primordial identification contains a nothingness, a void, which is related to the way in which the father appears in the discourse of the mother (Hassoun). Furthermore it is revealed that an original experience of pleasure, followed by a “catastrophic moment”, provides an explanation for the nihilistic discourse of the melancholic; it is the void in the place of the desire of the Other, which will become libidinally, i.e., symbolically, cathected (Lambotte). This sequence of an original experience of pleasure followed by a “catastrophic moment” allows melancholia to be characterised as an affliction of a specific impossible loss, namely, the loss of the desire of the mother which was once enjoyed.