Both Freud and Lacan distance themselves from any use of suggestion in analysis. Nevertheless, Lacan remarks in “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” both that there is a connection between suggestion and transference and that Freud was aware of that connection; namely that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion. Lacan will argue that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion in a very specific sense, namely to the extent that there is a kind of suggestion that directly supports the symbolic work intrinsic to analysis. The confusion is cleared up when one properly connects the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis with its origin in Freud’s experiments with suggestion and with the efficacy of working with signifiers.
In this article the author tries to problematize and to specify the place of free association within the psychoanalytic cure: this (free?) talking is fundamental to the psychoanalytic method. The starting point is the investigation of some problems in clinical practice, where the drive or jouissance appears in the act of speaking (or in the refusal to talk) – beyond the dimension of the signifier. This is the background for an investigation of the works of Freud and Lacan. First we try to specify the origin of the technique in Freuds works. Then we focus on Lacan’s reworking: from ‘saying everything’ to ‘say wathever comes to mind, say stupid things without hesitation’. The advantage of the latter is that it clarifies the connection between talking and the economy of pleasure or jouissance. This provides an opportunity to answer our questions in a new way. The accent shifts to the ethics of psychoanalysis and the psychoanalytic act.