I'm re-reading The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire (again), and today I read this.
This is why the Other's question [_la question_ de l'Aurte] – that comes back to the subject from the place from which he expects an oracular reply– which takes some such form as "_Che vuoi?_, "What do you want,?" is the question that best leads the subject to the path of his own desire, assuming that, thanks to the know-how of a partner known as a psychoanalyst, he takes up that question, even without knowing it, in the following form: "What does he want from me?" (p. 690 of Écrits).
Reading this now:
This is such a rich block of text. I know it stood out to me before as well because it was highlighted from a prior reading, but I don't know what I made of it before because there are no notes in the margin.
Reading it now, here is what I'm making of it:
When a person comes to a psychoanalyst, they assume the analyst wants something from them. It could be as basic as, "This psychoanalyst wants me to talk about my symptom." or "The psychoanalyst wants me to tell them my dreams."
This puts the analyst in the position of the Other. The analysand has projected their desires onto the analyst because that is the only way they could start to work with these desires. However, as Lacan has s, aid in other places, the Other does not (really) exist.
The analyst knows that this transference is happening, that the analysand expects them to want something and is playing to this. Because the analyst has gone through their own version of this situation in their own analysis, the analyst knows how to respond in a way that helps the analysand come to realize their desire as their own, rather than experiencing it as an Other's desire.
Something to think about:
It is interesting... the Other is necessary, it is a suitable object for our desires to crystalize onto.
Could we desire without an Other? I'm not sure... but I don't think we could.