There’s more than the Real. The so-called Abandonment of the Seduction Theory and the Incest Recovery Movement

The recognition of the prevalence of incest and sexual abuse, coincides with a new focus on the seduction theory. The person and the work of Freud are vehemently attacked, first and above all by the Incest Recovery Movement. As a rule, their criticisms are embedded in a purely political discourse and consist, for the better part, of personal attacks on Freud. They also fail to recognise the revolutionary character of his discovery: the importance of fantasy in psychic reality, and the phantasmal nature of the working?through of traumatic events. Every notion of fantasy and unconscious conflict is vehemently rejected. The subject is left with no possibility to act and to question his own subjective implication. Here one can only oppose this with the psychoanalytic ethic, which stresses the dimension of speaking well.

The Death Drive, regarding the Real

Where do we find the link between the Freudian death drive and the Lacanian Real? In this theoretical enquiry we trace the relationship between the growing pains of the death drive and the Real in the writings of Freud and Lacan. With Freud we examine the place of the death drive in a theoretical framework. This search inevitably leads to the constitution of the pleasure experience which is very hard to understand in relation to the death drive. We run into the trauma, which is the pleasurable encounter with the Real. Next we concentrate on the Lacanian elaboration of the death drive in the coming into being of the subject. Through this, we stumble upon the Real as that enigmatic category which escapes any elaboration. This Real is then examined in combination with the death drive in an attempt to formulate their relationship. The Borromean Knot of the Real-Symbolic-Imaginary in masochism concludes this paper.

Automutilation: A Clinical Fragment. Frederic. Who was (I for) my Mother? A Dangerous Quest

In this article the author reports on his clinical work with a young man who is severely automutilating. Still very young, the patient is not only confronted with the death of his mother but moreover with a dead and unbearable silence about it. If, during adoles¬cence, the original trauma in a retroactive movement is reactivated, this results in whole¬sale autodestruction. Based in clinical conversation material, a number of dynamics that could ground automutilation are explored. It is argued that when the subject cannot contemplate his place in the desire of the first Other, that a break-through of the real takes place which produces an unlimited jouissance. The author also defends the assertion that working with these patients demands that the therapist takes up an active position. Signi¬fiers must be offered in order to protect the subject against a destructive confrontation with the real. This is only possible within a therapeutic alliance where trust and safety are sufficiently guaranteed.

Psychoanalysis and Philosophy of History: Frank Ankersmit and Eelco Runia on the Relation Between Past and Present

In this paper, the author discusses the relation between psychoanalysis and philosophy of history. He talks about the influence of psychology and psychoanalysis on Frank Ankersmit and Eelco Runia, two central figures in contemporary philosophy of history. According to Ankersmit, the notion of trauma plays a central part in the way in which we deal with our past. Ankersmit also uses patients suffering from de-realization as a guiding example to clarify his understanding of the relationship between reality, language, trauma and experience. Eelco Runia on the other hand refers to the use of the Lacanian concept of the “real”. In the way we deal with the past, this concept manifests itself in two different ways. The first involves the concept of the “presence of the past”, together with the psychoanalytically well-known concept of “parallel processing”. The second one concerns the notion of the sublime act as it manifests itself in certain kinds of historical events. Runia also links this to Daryl Bem’s self-perception theory.

The mental landscape of trauma

Referring to the evolution of the psychoanalytic conception of trauma the author considers, based on clinical fragments, three questions with which we are confronted in the clinic of trauma. The first fragment about a trauma of incest, which was initially dealt with within the family in a sensitive and appropriate manner, raises the question of the impact of speech on trauma where it concerns laypeople. It can be argued that the consequences of this kind of speech can be equally as disastrous as those of stubborn silence or a prohibition to speak. Using a second fragment attention is drawn to the role of the phantasma. A third fragment illustrates the trans-generational transmission of a trauma. Some considerations concerning the traumatic neuroses and the trauma of birth conclude this paper.