In doing some work, I came across this bit of text that I had highlighted in Thomas Svolos's book Twenty-First Century Psychoanalysis.
(Let me add parenthetically, that in the later work of Lacan, more relevant today in practice, as further developed by Jacques-Alain Miller, in addition to this aspect of the unconscious as signifier—the transferential unconscious—there is also a Real unconscious, what we might describe as the libidinal dimension of the unconscious).
This is great! It talks about the idea of:
- The Freudian interpretative/transferential unconscious – The unconscious way of making sense of things through signification. I think this was also described by Bion in his articulation of a psychoanalyst converting Beta-elements (traumas) that can't be thought, into Alpha-elements that can be thought, by re-describing what the analysand is saying (or what they are not saying) in an Alpha-function (interpretation). This unconscious can be interpreted by an analyst when there is a transference to the analyst. If there is no transference, the analyst's interpretations will not be effective.
- Then there is the Real unconscious – Which is how we unconsciously libidinally invest in things, signifiers, experiences, bodies, etc. This is what gives us jouissance.
Svolos, Thomas. Twenty-First Century Psychoanalysis (p. 5). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.