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Fall 2007 / Spring 2008

Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis

Elaborated by Hilda Fernandez and Michael McConkey

September 18

Background and InfluencesFacilitated by Hilda Fernandez

 As a result of his time and influences, Lacan orchestrated an epistemic movement in the psychoanalytical field that centrally claimed a “return to Freud”. In this session we will discuss how Lacan’s central aphorism, “The unconscious is structured as a language,” is taken from the Freudian unconscious and his concept of a social individual that speaks. Through the Freudian concepts of parapraxes, displacement, and condensation we will see how Lacan threads these concepts through other influences (Saussure) to account for how the human subject establishes a chain of signifiers/signification in the creation of meaning and in the production of ourselves.


Dor, Joël. Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured as a Language (1997)

Freud, Sigmund. “Introductory Conferences to Analysis. 1st to 4th Conferences: Failed Actions” (1916-1917) The Standard Edition Vol. XV

_______. “New Introductory Conferences to Analysis. 29th Conference: Revision of the Dream Theory” (1933). The Standard Edition Vol. XXII

Lacan, Jacques. “The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis” (1953). Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

Silverman, Kaja. “From Sign to Subject, A Short History.” The Subject of Semiotics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).

October 2

The Three Registers: Facilitated by Paul Kingsbury

In this session we will discuss how the three registers – Real, Imaginary and Symbolic – are inseparably intertwined in any subjective phenomena.


Brousse, Marie-Hélène. “The Imaginary,” (1996) Reading Seminars I and II: Lacan’s Return to Freud, eds. R. Feldstein, B. Fink, and M. Jaanus. Albany: SUNY Press

Lacan, Jacques. “The Function and Field of Speech and Language in Psychoanalysis” (1953). Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

Ragland, Ellie. “An Overview of the Real,” Reading I and II

Soler, Colette. “The Symbolic Order (I and II),” ibid

October 16

Early Development: Oedipus Grows Up: Facilitated by Clint Burnham

We will examine one of the earliest Lacanian texts, “The Mirror Stage,” that precedes the theoretical development of the Ego as a privileged symptom and source of ignorance, which is opposed to truth and knowledge. We also will examine the differences between Freud and Lacan with respect to the Oedipus concept through the discussion of the famous Freudian case of Little Hans.


Dor, Joël. “The Mirror Stage and the Oedipus Complex,” Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured as a Language” (1997)

Freud, Sigmund. “Analysis of a phobia in a 5-year-old boy” (Case Little Hans) (1909) The Standard Edition Vol. X

Lacan, Jacques. “The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function, As Revealed In Psychoanalytic Experience” (1949) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

November 13 

Name of the Father: Facilitated by Michael McConkey

The symbolic register inaugurates the becoming of the human being into a subject.  How the signifier “Name of the Father” inserts the individual in the logic of the law and words and how this subject and its vicissitudes originates (Alienation 1, Alienation 2, Separation) will be the topic of this session.


Laurent, Éric. “Alienation and Separation” (I and II), Reading XI

Regnault, François. “The Name of the Father,” Reading XI

Verhaighe, Paul. “Causation and Destitution of a Pre-Ontological Non-entity,” Key Concepts.

December 11

Desire, Lack, Other: Facilitated by Calen Nixon

Desire shapes our discourse, even though desire is impossible and impelled by a structuring lack. We will review the process of the subject’s Desire, conformed in language, and how it circulates through the signifier of the Phallus. We will point out some of the Hegelian influences and discuss the differences between drives, need, demand and desire.


Fink, Bruce. “The Subject and the Other’s Desire,: Reading I and II

Lacan, J. “On a Question Prior to Any Possible Treatment of Psychosis” (1955) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

“The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious” (1960) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

Soler, Colette. “The Subject and the Other” (I and II) (1995), Reading XI: Lacan’s Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalysis.  Albany: SUNY Press.

January 15

Drives, Needs, Demands, Desire: Desire is the other’s desire: Facilitated by Sam Semper


Brousse, Marie-Hélène. “The Drive,” (I and II), Reading XI

Dor, Joël. “Need—Desire—Demand,” Introduction to the Reading of Lacan: The Unconscious Structured as a Language” (1997)

February 5

Jouissance: Facilitated by Hilda Fernandez

Between Anguish and Desire there is Jouissance and the object petit a. Jouissance, a quality, an experience, and the production of any symptom, will be discussed through the lens of Freud’s Ratman case.


Freud, S. “Some Remarks on a Case of Obsessive Neurosis” (Ratman’s case) (1909) The Standard Edition Vol. X

_____,  “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920) The Standard Edition Vol. XVIII.

Braunstein, Nestor. “Desire and jouissance in the teachings of Lacan,” The Cambridge Companion to Lacan (2003)

March 4

Fundamental Fantasy: “There is no sexual relationship”: Facilitated by Paulina Moreno

Sex is the fundamental subjective fantasy that keeps the subject questing for an answer that lays in the Real of the body and its particular entanglement with the word and image. What is that difference between women and men and how do we produce it? Why does Lacan say that The Woman does not exist, but women do?


Fink, Bruce. “There’s No Such Thing as a Sexual Relationship,” The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance.

Lacan, Jacques. “Guiding Remarks for a Convention on Female Sexuality” (1960) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

March 18

Diagnosis of Symptom Structure: Facilitated by Jesse Proudfoot

 Our symptom is a specific arrangement of jouissance and desire. Lacan’s concept of clinical structure and diagnosis is different than the psychopathological definitions used in classical psychiatry and psychology. Neurosis (Hysteria, Obsession, Phobia), Perversion and Psychosis are characterized by the processes of repression, disavowal, and foreclosure respectively.  These mechanisms that underlay the symptom must in turn be addressed differently during the treatment. We will work on the particularities of each structure.


Dor, Joel. “ Diagnosis and Structure,” Clinical Lacan (1997)

Fink, Bruce. “A Lacanian Approach to Diagnosis” Clinical Intro

April 1

Diagnosis of Symptom StructureFacilitated by Jesse Proudfoot and Hilda Fernandez


Miller, Jacques-Alain “On Perversion,” Ibid

Russell Grigg, “From the Mechanism of Psychosis to the Universal Condition of the Symptom: On Foreclosure,” Key Concepts

Soler, Colette “Hysteria and Obsession,” Reading I and II

April 15 

Dynamic and effectuation of Transference: Psychoanalysis as a clinic of loveFacilitated by Gerard Funk

Transference and its management are the central elements in the psychoanalytical treatment. We will review the concept of transference since Freud, and how the Lacanian additions, drawn from Plato’s “Banquet,” situates transference and its re-enactment in the clinical act as a new erotology.


Freud, Sigmund. “Introductory Conferences to Analysis. 27th Conference: Transference (1916-1917) The Standard Edition Vol. XVI.

_____,  “Observations on Transferential Love” (1915) The Standard Edition Vol. XII.

Klotz, Jean-Pierre. “The Passionate Dimension of Transference,” Reading XI

Lacan, Jacques. “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power” (1958) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

April 29

Psychoanalytic setting.

Is there a technique in psychoanalysis? What are the core aspects of it? How does the analyst’s style come to life? We will discuss time in analysis as a punctuating strategy and the logic behind the “infamous” variable length time session.


Lacan, Jacques. “The Direction of the Treatment and the Principles of Its Power” (1958)  Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.

_______ “The logic time and the assertion of the anticipated certitude” (1945)

Miller, Jacques-Alain. “An Introduction to Lacan’s Clinical Perspective,” Reading I and II.

Samuels, Robert. “From Freud to Lacan: A Question of Technique,” Ibid

May 13

A new ethic: Position of the analyst before knowledge and truthFacilitated by Clint Burnham

Psychoanalysis is a theory that was born primordially to support the practice of a therapy. What cures? What allows people to “pass to another thing”? We will review the timing of treatment, the role of knowledge and the production of truth in the clinical act, as well as the indispensable ethical position of an analyst by the emergence of his/her desire of analysis. The question of what is transmitted in the analytical act will shape the discussion on the psychoanalytical training, and what Lacan said about it.


Lacan, J. Seminar VII: The  Ethics of Psychoanalysis  (1953)

_____, “Science and Truth” (1965) Écrits

Safouan, Moustafa. Jacques Lacan and the Question of Psycho-analytic training (2000)

May 27

The CureFacilitated by Hilda Fernandez

What happens at the end of analysis and what enables its termination? We will discuss the end of analysis from the Freudian perspective to the Lacanian advances around this problem. Some themes to review will be the dialectization of desire, the need to traverse the fundamental fantasy and the process of owning desire.


Dunand, Anne. “The End of Analysis” (I and II), Reading XI

Freud, Sigmund. “Analysis Terminable and Interminable” (1937) The Standard Edition Vol. XXIII.

Fink, Bruce “From Desire to Jouissance,” Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis.

Lacan, Jacques. “On the Subject Finally Questioned” (1953) Écrits. Translated by B. Fink.