From the most recent [S][J][P] ◉ Newsletter I sent out yesterday:
I've been re-reading the text Pure Psychoanalysis, Applied Psychoanalysis, and Psychotherapy by Jacques-Alain Miller. The whole text is engaging, but one of the parts that strikes a chord with me is from the section with the sub-title A Semblance of Psychoanalysis. There, Miller says,
Psychoanalysis produced, nourished, encouraged its own semblance, and that this semblance thereafter enveloped it, passed over it, vampirized it. I say vampirized because one could give to this history a Gothic style in the manner of Edgar Allan Poe, something like “Psychoanalysis and its Double.” Once we display the resemblances, the intermittent confusions of person, the interchangeable character of the original and the double, the story would conclude with the substitution of the double for the original, the original ending up expropriated, exiled, in the rubbish, eliminated.
To re-state what Miller is saying in my own words would be that the original psychoanalysis was born out of a desire to explore the unconscious. It was the result of Freud's curiosity about the unconscious.
However, as psychoanalysis became more recognizable within society, as more and more people were willing to pay for analysis or seek out the thoughts and opinions of analysts, a demand emerged. The demand was to turn psychoanalysis from a desire/curiosity into a profession that society would respect. This can be seen in Freudsaying he wanted to make sure psychoanalysis was not seen as "the Jewish (i.e., written off) science." Additionally, Freud wanted psychoanalysis to survive his death and continue to be practiced and developed.
This demand led to the creation of the International Psychoanalytic Association (IPA). After WW II and the death of Freud, the IPA turned up the volume on the demand that psychoanalysis be seen as reputable and professional. This led to control of the IPA being turned over to individuals who were reputable and professional –American medical doctors. The American MDs then excluded non-medical professionals from being psychoanalysts, which Freud certainly never did, and turned psychoanalysis into a highly regulated profession with standardized training programs. The IPA also made it a requirement that those who wanted to practice psychoanalysis had to have an expensive degree and a medical license.
I think the IPA and the demand for psychoanalysis to be a "respected profession" is the semblant that the original desire of psychoanalysis created. I agree with Miller that this form of professionalized psychoanalysis then vampirized the original (pure?) psychoanalysis that was more interested in the unconscious than it was in being accepted and respected.
Lacan stood up to the IPA and re-oriented it to the principles of desire and curiosity.
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