This article focuses both on Lacan’s elaborations of the etiology of symptoms and the related question of the end of analysis. Starting in the 70’s, Lacan concentrates on a further elaboration concerning Freud’s notion of the fixation of the partial drives as the “causa” of symptoms and the end of analysis. In doing so, he supplements his earlier concept of the object a, that formalizes the four partial objects, with the notions of the “letter” and the “sinthome”. The end of the analysis and the definite disappearance of symptoms are situated by Lacan in the relation of the analysand with respect to his object. This relation is singular, hence only possible if it is no longer encumbered by the Other. After all, the sinthome is a knotting of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary that, following the example of Joyce, – operates entirely without the Other.
In this contribution the importance of dream interpretation in the treatment of the neurotic subject is questioned. Starting from the analogy between dream work and symptom formation, it is argued that dream interpretation constitutes for a fruitful way of exploring the unconscious in the cure. In order to relate dream interpretation to the end of the treatment, dream analysis is elucidated in its entanglement with transference. As an alternative to the kind of dream interpretation that pursues illusory completeness, or an interpretation of transference which leans on authority produced by it, working through is proposed as a path to the recognition of the lack in the Other. A clinical fragment about a dream concerning the transference is used to illustrate how dream interpretation not only functions as an opening of the unconscious, but can also be useful as a way or working through that brings the subject to a point where the human capacity to provide meaning reaches its limits.