Freud’s Use of Construction: Contribution to the History of Psychoanalytic Technique

In this paper the author investigates the precise manner in which Freud applied the technique of construction in his clinical practice. Not withstanding the fact that construction comprised an obvious part of Freud’s technique, he seldom mentioned it in his works. Light is shed on Freud’s technique of construction by revisiting the analogies he used to describe psychoanalytic practice, i.e., the psychoanalyst as archeologist (1937d) and psychoanalysis as travel (1920a), and the sixth and seventh sessions of his analysis of the Ratman (1909d). It appears that for Freud construction not only formed an integral part of his technique but was also the focus of a dialectical working through. Attention is paid to the role of working through in the subjectivation process as part of the psychoanalytic cure. To conclude, the author presents a third analogy in order to elucidate the range of the technique of construction: the analogy of an oeuvre.

 

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“Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” The fairy tale on the couch

Ever since its very beginning, psychoanalysis has allowed itself to be inspired by knowledge supposedly present in (pre)literary genres like myths and fairy tales. However, with time, the tables were turned and its theories were systematically and rigorously applied to every story to hand, including the fairy tale. After Freud set an example in 1913 with two of his articles, Freudians and Jungians alike became convinced they could use psychoanalytic theory to penetrate the true heart of the tale. For a long time, the elaborate interpretations made by Bruno Bettelheim and Marie-Louize Von Franz were quite influential. But although their orthodox methods have indeed made a considerable contribution to our understanding of the fairy tale, they are nonetheless flawed on various levels. Therefore, it may be time to search for new ways to approach the fairy tale from a psychoanalytic perspective, for instance, in collaboration with socio-historicism or indeed by a purposeful exploration of Lacanian theory.