Contemporary Freudian Revisionists
Key Figures: Jacques Lacan & Jean Laplanche
Key Concepts: The Three Registers of Psychical Subjectivity: The Real, the Imaginary, & the Symbolic / The Libidinal Economy: Need-Demand and Castration / Post-Lacanian Thought of Jean Laplanche: The General Theory of Seduction
Who was Jacques Lacan and why should we care? Lacan was one of the foremost intellectuals of the 20th century and his controversial and original post-Freudian ideas continue to influence academic and clinical discourse today, especially in Europe. His ideas put psychoanalysis into conversation with phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism, feminism, history of philosophy, anthropology, film, art, literary critical theory and political theory, to name a few. Hence, the applicability of Lacanian and post-Lacanian thought reaches into the realities of our present times and may give us fresh perspectives to engage with our patients or our world.
Lacan was a French psychiatrist who became a Freudian analyst and a member of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA) in the middle of the last century. He was greatly influenced by the French structuralist movement, particularly Ferdinand de Saussure and acolytes who facilitated his reorientation to the unconscious which he famously stated was “structured like a language.” The key, he thought to retaining some of Freud’s orthodoxy which he thought was in danger of being obfuscated by the Anglo-American ego psychology was to structuralize Freudian psychoanalysis.
Like other extraordinarily creative psychoanalytic thinkers from any psychoanalytic tradition, Lacan experienced several traumatic rejections from the IPA. The first blow included being forced out of the IPA for his “unorthodox” views that prompted him to find his own institute (SFP). Ten years later, the IPA made a deal with the SFP that, in short, offered to admit the institute into the international mother-ship if Lacan was struck from the list of training analysts. Ultimately, these rejections encouraged him to continue to creatively forge his own very distinctive theoretical and clinical ideas and practices.
The second half of the seminar builds on the first, in that I will introduce the original theory and praxis of French post-Lacanian psychoanalyst Jean Laplanche who remains a leading figure on the international psychoanalytical scene. Laplanche studied with and was treated by Lacan and while influenced by his mentor, clearly pursued his own original research through a careful engagement with and revivification of Freud’s texts. His view of the transference and the general theory of seduction are key concepts we will visit.
Both Lacan and Laplanche’s extraordinary theoretical contributions to psychoanalysis grew from their clinical work and alliance to the meaningful extension of the Freudian edifice. We will keep a keen eye to how theory is informed by practice.
Instructor Robin McCoy Brooks, MA, LMHC, TEP is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Seattle, WA. She is a founding member of the New School for Analytical Psychology and active analyst member of the Inter-regional society for Jungian Analysts and the International Association for Analytical Psychology. She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Jungian Studies. Additionally, she is the Co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Jungian Studies. Her published works incorporate philosophy, psychoanalysis, and scientific perspectives into the enigma of being human.
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**Program content has been submitted for approval for 4.0 CEUs per lecture for Licensed Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, and Marriage and Family Therapists by the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work.