Select Page

Object and Symptom in Sergei Pankejev. Part 1: A Special Case of “Obsessional Neurosis”. Prelude to a Topological Reading

This article is the first part of a twofold contribution in which the case of Sergei Pankejev or Freud’s “Wolf Man” is reread from a topological point of view. In this first part, it is proposed that diagnosis of this case as either a neurotic or a psychotic structure from a Freudian or a classical Lacanian point of view inevitably leads to a dead-end. Instead the author makes use of the notion of “ordinary psychosis” from a topological point of view (knot theory). It is hypothesized that we see a disconnection of the Other in the initial stages of the mental illness followed by a manifest psychosis in the later period. Via this disconnection, the Wolf Man made use of a series of “neurotic”-like symptoms that helped him to avoid the triggering of the psychosis. The question of which symptoms he made use of will be treated in the second part of this case study.

Addiction in the light of the hypothesis of ordinary psychosis

In the language of psychiatry in the English-speaking world the signifiers of “dependence” and “comorbidity” tend to co-occur. Meanwhile, in psychoanalytic jargon we witness the birth of the concept of ordinary psychosis. With reference to clinical cases, we will discuss our work with those dependent subjects who have a structure in which the function of the father is not operating. A distinction will be made between psychiatric or decompensated psychosis on the one hand and ordinary psychosis on the other. Possible diagnostic signs of ordinary psychosis, for example, disconnection (débranchement), will be discussed. We will also articulate our therapeutic point of view with regard to these subjects, for instance the way in which de-intoxication can trigger this disconnection or, alternatively, how reconnection (rebranchement) can be facilitated.