An analysand arrives to the first session curating words to describe his suffering and demonstrating in his very own way of speaking, silencing and moving, the linguistic structure that seems to afflict him. How does the analyst listen and choose to intervene? At every moment, possibilities of intervention arise, yet the analyst chooses to remain silent at one juncture and to speak or act at another. What are the principles that guide such acts? This question is at the core of Lacan’s inquiry throughout his oeuvre. In this article, I reflect on the analyst’s knowledge with regard to technique and style in the conduct of an analysis. I argue that a successful analysis, by which I mean, a process that subverts compulsion repetition in order to allow the analysand’s encountering a “know-how-to-do” with jouissance, depends on two sources of knowledge: technique and style. Which would be more vital for a successful analysis: technique or style? My proposal is that an analysis can exist without technique but never without style. I will develop the notion of the analyst’s style as follows: style is an effect of the analyst’s desire, encountered at the end of analysis, that punctures the texture of the analysand’s speech to reveal the insistent letter; it involves a necessary savoir, a “know-how,” which does not permit the analyst’s jouissance into the analysis; and style is an informed lalangue, the active core of the real ways in which an analyst intervenes, which involves an orientation towards the letter.
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.