giovedì 30 maggio 2013

Psychoanalysis is not psychology, psychotherapy, or medicine. Part 3/3

this is the following of a previous part, which you can find here:

Part 3:


Psychoanalysis differs from any other practice also because it makes a different use of the transference. Transference is what ties one person to another. At the same time, it makes the relationship irreducible to the two persons; it indicates that there is more. It is what makes possible to address a question to someone. Transference is not just the repetition of a past relationship. Transference is not an accident; it is at the same time the motor and the resistance of a cure. It is what allows a process to begin, but at the same time it may be what opposes to this process to produce a change. In psychoanalysis the transference is considered by the psychoanalyst. He or she should be aware of the transference, and should be aware that it is more important the position where s/he speaks from, than the content of his/her words. Being a psychoanalyst means that one is occupying a particular position in someone’s discourse, and this position should be preserved. A psychoanalyst cannot really believe to master some specific knowledge or technique. A psychoanalyst occupies an empty place, and this emptiness is what provokes the analysand to produce his/her knowledge. The analyst should resist the temptation to feed the client, to answer him/her. Instead, the position of the analyst should be preserved, because the analyst works at the one to whom a question can be addressed. 

This is obviously just a fiction, because the addressee is the Other. The Other has a capital letter because it indicates a radical otherness, a radical difference. It means that the “I” is not fully master; it means that we are ruled by the unconscious, and we have to deal with this. Not only we are not “master in our home” (and for example we are subjects to the symptoms), but it means that we cannot fully know our desires, and our phantasm until we go through it. This means that we can only know something of our unconscious desires when we start talking. This is the only condition at which we may be able to see something happen. Only talking we may discover something about our desire, because when we talk we have the chance to listen to our speech, and we have the chance to encounter something of our unconscious, even though it sometimes come up through lapse, slips of tongue, and other unexpected, funny, and may be not always pleasant ways.


So, what psychoanalysis shows is that we are occupied by the Other, which is also the culture in which we were born, the normative Other, the system, the society, the family, etc…in short everything that is unconscious and has shaped our discourse. We were born in a discourse, as part of a current discourse; we are sons of our times. But still, we have a chance: listening to the discourse in we are caught, so that we can go through that discourse. This will result in less dependency by all the identifications and beliefs we have gained before. And of course, we can decide to stay still within the same culture, within the same society. But a journey has begun, a journey that may leads to reconsider all that we say, and don’t give anything for granted. This journey is not against society, and it is not against living with others. Psychoanalysis will not make of us more individualistic people (this is a frequent prejudice). Instead, it may lead to a different living with others, as it may lead to encounter the solitude. Solitude means that speaking (and every word works by difference to another word) we differentiate by the mainstream. But at the same time we differentiate by our “self”. 

Psychoanalysis follows the unconscious, and the unconscious has nothing to do with the individualism. Individualism and collectivism are just two sides of the coin, and both are ways for avoiding the unconscious. Psychoanalysis shows that we are always in relation to the Other; this means that we cannot erase it, we cannot erase the unconscious. Being alone and self-sufficient is thinking that we can skip the unconscious, that we can cut it out. Living all together, living as a group is another defense from encountering the unconscious. The group is the idea that we can replace the Other with many others; it is the idea that living with others we can avoid the anxiety that encountering the unconscious may give.

So, psychoanalysis is not a technique for managing the anxiety, or for limitating it. On the contrary, it shows that anxiety is much related to the unconscious, and that a bit of anxiety is probably necessary. But anxiety seems to be something pathological. Medicine proposes to reduce anxiety with pills; psychology teaches how to manage anxiety and reduce the stress; psychotherapy help to prevent anxiety and substitutes the irrational beliefs. But psychoanalysis proposes to listens to such anxiety, as this is a chance, because that anxiety may shows the way to a treasure. Psychoanalysis shows that fear may be real, but the danger is only imaginary.

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