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Confessions from the Couch

104 pages
The unconscious? The Oedipus complex? The castration complex? Neurosis ? The objet a ? What are they? And what does one say to an analyst? What happens during an analysis? For those asking questions about psychoanalysis, Confessions from the Couch gives clear and simple answers. The principal psychoanalytical notions, both Freudian and Lacanian, are explained and illustrated with chosen extracts from actual analytical sessions. (Traduction en anglais de Dits de divan, Notions de psychanalyse illustrées d'extraits de séances).
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to explain concepts that can be difficult to grasp.
Valérie BLANCO
Confessions from the Couch
Psychoanalytical notions illustrated with extracts from sessions
Translated by Jane HodgsonMcCrohan
Confessions from the Couch Psychoanalytical notions illustrated with extracts from sessions
Valérie Blanco
Confessions from the Couch
Psychoanalytical notions illustrated with extracts from sessions
Translated by Jane Hodgson-McCrohan
© L’Harmattan, 2015 5-7, rue de l’École-Polytechnique ; 75005 Paris http://www.harmattan.fr diffusion.harmattan@wanadoo.fr harmattan1@wanadoo.fr ISBN : 978-2-343-06244-0 EAN : 9782343062440
Foreword Psychoanalysis has been a source of fascination, intrigue and worry for more than 100 years. It has rarely been treated with indifference. In the practice of psychoanalysis, you often find yourself replying to questions about it from patients, family, friends and acquaintances. These questions push you to explain simply, in just a few sentences, notions that are often very complex. They push you to give your own interpretations of these notions. This book takes up the challenge of simplification. As with all popularisation and interpretation, there is an inherent but recognised risk of weakening or distorting the original concepts. But it might offer a first opening to psychoanalysis to those who perhaps have neither the time nor the inclination to plunge into the works of great psychoanalysts like Freud and Lacan. This book intends to give a first taste, and as such to whet the appetite and to stimulate the curiosity of the reader. Let us hope that this introduction to a few basic notions will encourage the reader to take his investigations further. This book is also witness to the extraordinary and passionate experience of the analytical cure. Furthermore, to make these theoretical notions more meaningful and to reply to questions concerning what actually happens in a psychoanalytical practice, this book provides extracts from clinical sessions, thus giving the reader a concrete idea of what is said on the couch and a link between the theory and the practice. Of course, in order to preserve the anonymity of the patients, the details or characteristics allowing their identification have been either slightly or radically modified.
The inconvenience of this is that these extracts lose that which is at the heart of the analytical ethic: the unique and singular character of each patient, but the advantage is that these extracts “speak” to a great number of readers who, other than the authors, could recognise a part of themselves. The aim of this book is to incite in its readers the desire (envie) to know more about psychoanalysis or about themselves and the desire(envie) to undertake an analysis. A desire (envie) to embark upon this long journey, which will * lead them to a feeling of “l’en-vie” .
* In French the author is making a play on words. «Envie» means desire, craving, longing and «en-vie» written in two words means being alive.
Chapter 1 – The unconscious and symptoms Psychoanalysis is a little more than a hundred years old. th Sigmund Freud invented it at the end of the 19 century. Today, a certain number of psychoanalytical discoveries have become general knowledge and are commonplace. For example, we accept that an unconscious exists, that a part of our sexual drives are repressed, that there is such a thing as an Oedipus complex and that our Freudian slips can be revealing. Nevertheless, we must try to imagine the context of prudish values of the 1890’s and 1900’s to fully understand the thunderbolt of the new psychoanalytical discourse. The first patient to whom Freud said: “You have an unconscious desire to sleep with your mother” must have nearly fallen off the couch! In 1905 Freud created a scandal when he published his bookThree Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality in which he claimed that children were animated by sexual drives and referred to the child as “polymorphous perverse” (to convey the idea that the sexual drives, which are numerous, go in all directions, without organisation). This scandal was nothing compared to Freud’s understanding of the unconscious and how it revolutionised our way of thinking. Certainly the term “unconscious” existed before Freud, but he was the first to give its meaning such scope. The Freudian unconscious goes beyond the simple opposition between things we consciously know and those of an unconscious kind that we are unaware of. Freud’s originality does not lie in the distinction between the known and the unknown, but in the importance given to the unknown. Our unconscious determines us and makes us act. In other words, we are not masters of ourselves. There is an unknown pilot directing our course of action.