A Clinical Study Days Workspace


"UNDER CONSTRUCTION..." is the signifier under which our preparatory labor will problematize and elucidate the theme of our upcoming Clinical Study Days 12: "The Psychoanalytic Subject in the Maze: Constructions in Analysis". This signifier is intended to amplify the various construction fragments—artwork, reading, writing, cartelwork, case presentations, pass testimony—that are produced en route to the upcoming encounter in Miami Beach. The following series exposes subjects and speaking bodies at work, each with their singular trait, applied to the theme.

Below you will find work fragments from those that choose and are enjoined to participate, using "bricks" of text and contemporary images, to stimulate work transference.
If you want to contribute material to be considered for this series, we request that you first
register for CSD12 and then send your submission to Jeff Erbe at jeffrey.erbe@gmail.com.

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“Construction in Analysis by the Analysand”
A Bibliography Note by Liliana Kruszel (Miami, FL)
November 6, 2018

On Lacan’s “Geneva Lecture on the Symptom”.

Lacan gave this lecture on June 4th, 1975, a week before the beginning of his Seminar XXIII, ‘Joyce ,the Synthome’, by invitation of the Swiss Society of Psychoanalysis at the Center Raymond de Saussure. The text was established by Jacques-Alain Miller.

This lecture touches upon many topics, from explaining the political circumstances that surrounded the beginning of his teachings, and the reasons for it, to current moments of his theoretical developments.

He argues his teaching was intended to rescue Freudianism from the association Freud created himself. Many of the participants who attended Lacan’s seminar from the beginning, in 1953, were also present in Geneva in 1975. Once a year, Lacan would produce a writing, about his seminars, which became the Écrits later on, as a mode of leaving a testimony of what he was saying. But, for Lacan, neither saying nor writing, could yield full testimony of what constitutes an analyst.

An analyst also cannot be accounted for by what he thinks, because thinking only gives an account of his automatism. Thinking is after all, a way of being cross-eyed, cross-eyed with the imaginary, because if man wouldn’t ‘have’ a body, he wouldn’t be captured by the image of his body. This explains many things. His Umwelt is constructed in accordance with his body image that veils what goes on in that body.

How is that body constructed? Via the gaze. Everything a man thinks is rooted in this construction. It is very difficult for an ‘analyst’ not to be sucked in by this fact, as demonstrated, by what Lacan’s host Olivier Flournoy called, the “analyzed”. Lacan objects to calling an analyst an “analyzed person’”, saying instead that there is a distinction to be made between the “analyzed person” with the “analysand”. The difference not being in the verb mode, but rather based on the implication that in an analysis, it is the analysand who works. It is the analysand that constructs his case, not the analyst. It is necessary though, to give form to the demand of the analysand before you ask them to lay down, or it will be spoiled.

Then, what does the analyst do there in the analytic process? That is what Lacan wondered from the very beginning. For that reason he implemented in 1967 the first form of a testimony of the subject who claims to be an analyst,. It is only he himself— the analysand becoming an analyst—who can give evidence of this. Each one is free to choose to demonstrate that. That was the initial ‘proposition’. The intention was not to prove himself to the authorities, but to others like him, who are also going through this process, to listen from the standpoint of the particularity of the case, not from any previous knowledge, but from their own experience of traversing an analysis. Such testimony achieves authenticity strictly on the basis of it’s particularity. To exit an analysis is to be able to ‘construct one’s own case’ , which is never a matter of didactic analysis. This is, according to the freudian formula Soll Ich Werden, something of the order of a destitution, of poverty, which is not the same as unknotting. 

In Freud’s first writings before 1914, the unconscious was the Unbewusstein, that which is not known. However, Lacan takes this further, arguing the unconscious is not simply that, because what Freud really introduced with psychoanalysis is, that it is not necessary to know what one knows to be able to enjoy from it. That is the meaning extracted from a slip or a dream, which is not a meaning that comes from the analyst, but from the analysand who makes the associations around them. This knowledge that crystalized in the encounter of the words with the body, leaves a trace. It is there, where he puts the meaning.

This language, which is the first equivocation, does not have a theoretical existence, rather it intervenes in a form, close to a lalangue, where something of what was spoken and heard in its particularity, will come back in dreams, in all kinds of stumbling, in all forms of saying. It is in this moterialism (neologism that Lacan makes between word and materialism), where the capture of the unconscious resides. That is to say, what makes each one, who has not found any other way, able to sustain the symptom.  

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“In Regards to Marginalia to Constructions In Analysis by Jacques-Alain Miller”

In the text “Marginalia to Constructions in Analysis”, Miller asserts, “Interpretation strikes a chord and construction binds.”¹

I’m interested in what it is that the construction binds up.

Miller says, “In Lacan, construction and interpretation stand in opposition (…). The construction is an elaboration of knowledge (…).”²

If construction binds up several elements to elaborate knowledge, one can say that we are in the field of the Other. Construction is an answer to the desire of the Other. Answer to an enigma, to a structural lack. That is the bond between construction and fundamental fantasy.

The construction of the fundamental fantasy pinpoints the subject’s jouissance. It is the truth as a fictional structure as Lacan says, quoting Bentham, in the Écrits.

To construct is to give meaning to the real, circling the impossible, but the meaning constructed must be abandoned. It must be abandoned to the extent that the analyst should conduct the analysand “to the fictions of saying, to the nonsense of his history and to the pure contingency of what ends up being his jouissance.”³

¹ Miller, Jacques-Alain. “Marginalia to ‘Construction in Analysis’” (1994), Psychoanalytical Notebooks, no. 22, March 2011, p. 63.
² Ibid., p. 58.
³ Arenas, Alicia. “The desire of the analyst in the clinical experience/the analyst’s desire in the school.” Lacanian Compass members’ monthly virtual conversation, May 24th, 2017.

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This year we’re introducing a new series in which we invite Lacanian Compass members to respond to a prompt, image or text, with associations that relate to our theme. Our desire is to create new social links through our work.


I approach this image not as a whole but from its hole. One detail: the little boy trying to find something behind the image. From my own delusion, I can associate this detail with the position of the analyst, going beyond the imaginary. When a person comes to see an analyst, they come speaking about himself or herself. Speaking to somebody has effects. The transference to the Other produces effects, but the analyst also provokes “a demand to speak well”1—through interventions such as punctuation, interpretation, and the analytic act—to locate the subject in its unconscious formations. We search for the end of analysis at its beginning, using the real as a compass. Only with this orientation to the real does our practice achieve another di-mension. There is no way to say anything about the analytic experience without this compass of the end. Since psychoanalysis has effects like any other psychotherapy, it is only from the perspective of the end that the analytic experience can be distinguished from other practices.

We make constructions based on a delusion, searching for the meaning of our symptoms in the Other, translating our jouissance into the language of the Other. The construction of our delusion, psychic reality or fundamental fantasy is a way to find the truth, while knowing that this truth has a fictional structure. A lie is needed to cover the real.

Following Freud, Lacan spoke in Seminar XXIV about three forms of identification: loving identification to the father, hysterical identification, and identification to a trait, all of which are linked to the Other. But he also introduced a new topology based on a “torus” with two holes, one that opens to the exterior and another to its interior.

If the real is veiled, what is real in the symbolic? Lacan says it is something that doesn’t change, something without value that is fixed. It is not exchangeable, like the metonymy of the signifier, but rather the materiality of the signifier.

“One has recourse therefore to the Imaginary to give oneself an idea of the Real”.2 The new consistency of the imaginary is an identity that is not connected to form nor to the Other. It is the One, the torus in its interior hole. How can we imagine the real? It is an image at the end that provides consistency. Returning to the boy looking beyond the image only to find a hole, I ask: is this image a construction or is it real?

*This text is a result of a work progress in a cartel. 

1.  Laurent, É. (2011). The case, from unease to the lie. Psychoanalytical Notebooks 22.
2.  Lacan, J. Le Séminaire de Jacques Lacan, Livre XXIV, L'insu que sait de l'une-bévue s'aile à mourre, 1976-1977, unpublished.

Image: “School of Beauty, School of Culture,” Kerry James Marshall, 2012, DETAIL

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“When the Symbolic Becomes Homogeneous With the Real”
A Bibliography Note by Liliana Kruszel (Miami, FL)
September 24, 2018

On Freud's "A Child is Being Beaten"

This article by Freud from 1919 is a rich theoretical and clínical study, because in it there are three big developments.  On the one hand there is the issue of fantasy or phantasm, product of a reconstruction of reality, then it deals with the genesis of masochism, and finally touches on the question of feminine sexuality, in a different way than he was doing before in prior texts, "Three Essays for a Sexual Theory" (1905), and "Childhood Sexual Fantasies" (1908), where the primacy was on the phallus for boys and girls. 

On the other hand, a discussion opens up, that he will continue the following year, in "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" (1920), about the intimate relationship between pleasure and displeasure.

Freud in this article develops a presentation where he points out the phases and transformations of the fantasy, detailing the process that underlies and the meaning it takes for its transformation. In this fantasy there are parts that are conscious and others that need to be reconstructed in analysis, aspects linked to a satisfaction. This repressed aspect that has to be reconstructed, is linked to the Oedipal meaning as cause, with a concomitant guilt associated to the incestuous desire. Dialectic of the repressed and its return.

Lacan, like Freud, through a very detailed study of the phantasm, shows the transformations of it, pointing out at the same time the importance of the signifier in the economy of such a phantasm.  

In "Seminar 4," he says that in the act of beating a child, the subject reads in the imaginary, a falling of the preference of the father’s love. The father that beats a child, denies his being, his existence.  He goes on to pose that the genesis of perversions is not the lack of evolution or development  of the partial drives, or a simple primitive fixation, and that there were there from the beginning, but they participate, as well as neurosis do, in the Oedipal drama.

Lacan in "Seminar 4," situates in schema lambda this imaginary relation in opposition to S and the Other, where the unconscious word is situated, that can take different forms, and is excluded from the subject but appears in all his symptoms, testimony of signifying elements of the relation to the other.  

Following this development of the phantasm in Freud, Lacan observes a symbolic reduction, that has eliminated the meaning from the intersubjective structure, to leave a rest that is de-subjectified, meaning that the subject is not implicated in it, and the fantasy conserves the charge that is not revealed, not assumed by the subject.  All that signification is reduced to an image with all the libidinal satisfactions of what this scene represents.  All the drama of significations reduced to one image.  A child is beaten.  It is in this very sense that Lacan will underline the prevalence of the image in perversions, depleted of any original meaning that needs to be restored through the work of the unconscious, “it is about the image as a last testimony of something that needs to be articulated in the unconscious and put into play through  transference in the analytic experience”.  

In "Seminar 5," Lacan calls it the ‘phantasmatic solution,’ in the symbolic plane.  The phallus, as soon as the subject tries to interpret the desire of the mother, enters the symbolic dialectic of the signifier that represents the lack around which all this dynamic is possible. 

On page 41 of “ Feminine Positions of Being,” Eric Laurent says (the translation is mine): “For Lacan , the feminine masochism of Freud becomes a paradox of the Other Jouissance.  The human hope of completeness, is based on the structural renunciation of the loss of the mother as primordial imagined object.  Lacan’s discovery of the relations between the Real, the death drive, primary masochism and femininity, constitute an advancement from Freud’s arguments, and the Real of that loss, has structural consequences for each subject, be it a man or a woman.”

After "Seminar 20," Lacan will speak of the feminine jouissance as a supplement, that is opposed to this idea of the lack.  This idea of the supplement is to follow another hint/tip that Freud left, that points to the reduction of the feminine being as derived from the masochistic drive.  A jouissance beyond the phallic jouissance, beyond the pleasure principle.

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“Construction of the Clinical Case from the Standpoint of an Encounter”
A Bibliography Note by Liliana Kruszel (Miami, FL)
September 13, 2018

On Eric Laurent’s text: “The Case, from Unease to the Lie”

Under the subtitle, “The Aim of the Analyst,” Eric Laurent comments on the book by Gennie Lemoine, “Entering Time.”  This is a book that lends itself to questioning the status of the case study in the Lacanian Orientation. The book showcases the practice of the treatment's foundation, based on the diverse theoretical developments she engages with, each containing a lesson to pick out as “each person sees fit.” Theory and narrative is the entire emphasis of the book and the first part is called: “From little and big stories to mathemes.”

Laurent then adds: “The moment when the analyst turns the story into a case is always grasped from a point of encounter, from an event that is proper to the treatment. It is only from there that the narrative of the determinants that weave the subject is organized."  It is around the encounter that the book is organized and that it measures up. The author emphasizes that the narrative is not organized around knowledge, but rather around an encounter: “The analyst does not know, for the good reason that he is in the position of little a as agent, in its capacity as object cause of desire […]The false start does not prevent the encounter of the two desires”.

If the symbolic in the real has the lie as its name, the encounter has the form of an outside sense, from where the lie is a sign for a subject, through an effect that attains the efficacy of a ‘witticism.’

The unease would come from the questioning of the clinical case and its transmission, which would demonstrate how one analyzes. We rely on a method that uses examples. Not only is the demonstrative position of the single case harshly contested by the prestige of science and the statistical model, but by the crisis throughout the history of psychoanalysis itself. Laurent will demonstrate this in this paper.