In this contribution the author examines the specificity of a psychoanalytic orientation in clinical work with addicts. A psychoanalytic approach focuses on the subject and his discontent, rather than on the object, the consumed substance, and does not limit itself to the trivia of the substance use but searches for that for which the drug or alcohol use is a solution. A psychoanalytic focus on addiction aims at what lies beyond the supposedly simple stimulus-response cycle of need and its satisfaction and situates need within the dynamics of desire, related to the Other and mediated by speech. Drug use circumvents those dynamics, which has consequences for the transference. The author contrasts a psychoanalytic treatment, aimed at the symbolic working-through of desire and the letting go of imaginary identifications, with an imaginary treatment, aimed at installing an identification with “the addict” or “the former drug user” with accompanying terminology and prescribed behaviour. Arguments are illustrated throughout with clinical case material.
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Addiction Aggression Applied psychoanalysis Architecture Art Body Case study Child analysis Collecting Death death drive desire ethics Fantasy Freud Gaze Hysteria Identity Institution interpretation Jacques Lacan Jouissance Lacan Language Literature Memory Narcissism Object a Oedipus Outsider Art Psychoanalysis Psychosis Real Repetition Repression Sade Signifier Subject Sublimation the Gaze Transference Trauma Unconscious Violence Writing