In 1923 Freud published an essay on the application of psychoanalysis to a case of demonic possession and liberation through exorcism in baroque Austria. For the psychoanalyst working with archival material, it is a matter of rediscovering neurotic ailments under a different rubric. According to Freud, the story of Christoph Haizmann clearly contains a truth which is dear to him, namely, the father conceived as devil. In this polemical text, aimed at Charcot’s heirs, exorcists from the 17th century emerge as unexpected allies of Freud.
This paper explores what happens in the subject when creating visual art. It is argued on the first level that there are four steps in the creation process: (i) forming the image; (ii) creating the object; (iii) the decision to finish; and (iv) the separation. On a more advanced level, one needs to be aware of the essential difference between the status of the creative process in neurosis and psychosis. It is argued that within a neurotic structure the process of creation (sublimation) witnesses the acceptance by the subject of the emptiness of the Thing behind the object created, whereas within a psychotic structure visual expression should be considered a symptom, a therapeutic phenomenon. Insight is gained into the specific way in which linguistic mechanisms enter visualisation through the case of Friedrich Schröder-Sonnenstern, a German psychotic outsider.
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.