Lacan and Psychosis

Although I appreciate any successful attempt to work interpersonally with psychosis, and I would be curious to hear more about Villemoes’ work, I have to say the following:

The idea of “ego-restructuring” would have been anathema to Lacan, who considered the ego to be an alienating function even if it appeared to be the only alternative to psychosis. He worked hard to save the truth of Freud from the creation of ego psychology.

In his early work Lacan discusses the absence of the “name of the father” as a possible factor in psychosis within the particular cultural milieux (patriarchal?) he and Freud were a part of, however he searched his whole life for an alternative to the impasse which psychoanalysis had reached – the either/or choice between a neurotic (“normal”) submission to the law of the Other or psychotic foreclosure of the symbolic. It was amongst the development of a new (modern/postmodern?) milieux that Lacan was able to perceive new directions.

In 1963 Lacan proposed for his yearly seminar “the names of the father.” While this was never given (for political reasons), from this point on he began work on the pluralization of the names as access to the symbolic. By 1975 when he gave his seminar on the “sinthome” (purification of the symptom) he states that we can “do without the name of the father provided we can make use of it.” The process of nomination borrowed from the poetics of James Joyce (and contempary artists in general) provided Lacan with a certain model of practice which is currently being evolved by many of Lacan’s decendants.

In my own work I have come to the conclusion that it is not usually a simple lack of maternal mirroring or paternal name/no/law which leads to psychosis but a direct intrusion – a “soul murder” or “violence of interpretation” (as Aulagnier calls it ) of the experience of the other. While the very existence of the other (mother, father) with its desires provides an inevitable constraining limit for the child, it is in the excessive objectification of the child that his soul or drive is put into the service of the other and nothing remains to be born into the subjective enunciation and transmission of the “I”. But in the everyday life of the current society this objectification and violence of interpretation are simply less complete, making neurosis and much so-called normality subject to a divided subjectivity. Rather than seek to adapt the objectified ego to its milieux of object relations dominated by a particular logos, Lacan sought the emergence of subject relations. In the clinical setting the “desire of the analyst” to listen, witness, play, and create “in relation” and to reveal the truth of bodily and mental”jouissance” and its symbolic transmission maintains a constraining limit, while preventing the objectification of the patient through the violence of interpretation which – for the most part – our families, cultures, and therapies are still dominated by, which can lead to the untying of the knot of the symptom and the production of new signifiers.

For new developments in Lacan’s late work and its application to pre-oedipal and psychotic experience I recommend:

Roberto Harari “How James Joyce Made His Name: A Reading of the Final Lacan”
Felix Guattari “Chaosmosis”
Piera Aulagnier “The Violence of Interpretation”
Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger “The Matrixial Gaze”
Julia Kristeva ” Revolution in Poetic Language”
Slavoj Zizek “Organs without Bodies”
Willy Apollon, et al “After Lacan”