The author considers the role of resistance in analysis and asks specifically if the resistance of the analysand can be considered a measure of the duration of analytic treatment. It is not in any objective sense, but several indications in Freud’s and Lacan’s work indicate that they do draw connections between resistance and the duration of the treatment. Freud’s definitions of resistance are explored as well as several discussions of resistance in Lacan’s early, middle, and later work. Ultimately, Lacan shifts from a notion of the resistance of discourse to one of the resistance of structure—the topological structure of the Borromean knot.
Throughout his career, Jean-Paul Sartre had a contentious theoretical relationship with psychoanalysis. Nowhere is this more evident than in his criticisms of the concept of the unconscious. For him, the unconscious represents a hidden psychological depth that is anathema to the notion of human freedom. In this paper, I argue that Lacan’s conception of the unconscious-structured-like-a-language overcomes many of Sartre’s most damning objections. I demonstrate that Lacan shares with Sartre a concern to rid the psyche of hidden depths. Both thinkers therefore reject the depth psychological conception of the unconscious and arrive at strikingly similar positions on the nature of the unconscious. In this way, I show that the conceptual analogues that Sartre develops in order to avoid the psychoanalytic unconscious lead him to a position on the unconscious with which Lacan could be in agreement. This indicates that Sartre’s philosophical position is not as at odds with Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis as is typically though.
This paper begins by outlining the debate at the beginning of the twentieth century between structuralist and functionalist psychology. We examine some of the consequences of emphasizing either the functional or the structural properties of the mental apparatus. The functional explanation finds its most extreme example in Watson’s behaviorism. Then we examine Freud’s notion of the mental apparatus. We find that in the metapsychology of 1915 Freud gives priority to a structural explanation of mental phenomena, while in the metapsychology of 1923 he constructs the mental apparatus as being divided into functional units.