Both Freud and Lacan distance themselves from any use of suggestion in analysis. Nevertheless, Lacan remarks in “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of its Power” both that there is a connection between suggestion and transference and that Freud was aware of that connection; namely that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion. Lacan will argue that transference is itself an analysis of suggestion in a very specific sense, namely to the extent that there is a kind of suggestion that directly supports the symbolic work intrinsic to analysis. The confusion is cleared up when one properly connects the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis with its origin in Freud’s experiments with suggestion and with the efficacy of working with signifiers.
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 paper deals with the question of the meaning of technique in analytical treatment. With Freud, it is acknowledged that the term “technique” is all too often interpreted in terms of rules or instructions for the analyst in relation to good direction for the cure. In contrast, Freud underscored another dimension of technique: that of creativity, a dimension that contributes to the emergence of the subject as well as to the creation of additional degrees of freedom for its speaking; the one in which the analyst, having analysed his own freedom (or lack of it), creates the conditions wherein the subject comes to his own, truthful, speech. The tension between technique in the narrow sense, and technique in the sense of the creative manipulation of transference, is illustrated on the basis of a few clinical fragments.
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.
Can psychoanalytic technique be used to investigate creativity? With reference to MacMillan’s work (MacMillan et al., 2003) on Freud’s essay on the Moses of Michelangelo (Freud, 1914b), the author begins this article by arguing that this is not always productive. In Freud’s analysis of Michelangelo’s sculpture and of the artist’s intentions, Freud made use of introspection in a way that is analogous to the free floating attention of psychoanalysts. However, Freud’s construction can be discredited when one takes into account: 1. Michelangelo’s original plan for the tomb of Julius II; 2. two iconographical conventions used by the artist; and 3. the biblical text. The author goes on to argue that psychoanalytic technique can provide an adequate frame of reference for research on creation and creativity. Besides the speech of the artist, he discovers in the aim of repetition a handle on the interpretation of art. This point of view is illustrated with the work of Johan Clarysse, Edgar Allan Poe and Paul Auster.