“In the beginning was the act.” Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo

So concludes Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Taboo, bringing to term Freud’s fantasy of the murder of the father of the primal horde and the construction of the Totem as its signifier. This mythical act represents the effraction constituted by the subjection of the human being to a symbolic order that cuts the speaking being off from the enjoyment of total and immediate satisfaction. The speaking being is thereafter subject to the law of castration and the excess (jouissance) constituted by language and the signifier of the defect, lack, and absence of the barred Other. As a praxis, psychoanalysis is an act that transpires in the frame of speech. Freud’s so-called “talking cure,” which inaugurates psychoanalytic experience and the contemporary therapies that rely upon speech as their medium, is itself a specific kind of act. It is a speech act that results in effects, or evidence, that arise in relation to the act and stance the analyst adopts in the face of the patient’s demand for a cure. But the ethical act of the analyst results in evidence that must be differentiated from other so-called “evidence-based” approaches. While those approaches find their validity in experimental models of repeated measures, our practice results in the singularity of the case in which the analysand, invited through transference, moves from the position of the patient to that of the analysand. This transference moves beyond the transference Freud defined as a form of “resistance”: it entails a shift from an address to the person of the analyst to the work of the unconscious itself, whose frame the analyst takes responsibility for constituting case by case. The analyst’s act aims at maintaining and sustaining that frame. Our work will focus on the question of the act in psychoanalysis, and most specifically the analytic act as opening up a space for speech.

In focusing on the analytic act the Analysts of the School will take stock of what Lacan’s knowledge introduces into the theory and clinical practice of psychoanalysis. What is the effect of the cut in the so-called variable length session? How can we think about Lacan’s dictum that the interpretation of the analyst falls somewhere between a “direct quote and an enigma” in terms of the analytic act?

This year’s training weekend will focus on the analytic act as a speech act that results in effects: a response from the unconscious of the analysand. It is this response–itself a rupture from the ego’s discourse—which serves as the evidentiary basis for analytic experience.

Faculty: Christopher Meyer, PhD, Raul Moncayo, PhD, Marcelo Estrada, Ben Davidson, PhD, Fernando Castrillon, PhD, Annie Rogers,PhD Bret Fimiani, PsyD, Stephanie Swales, PsyD (?)
When: February 21, 22, (possibly 23)
Day and Time: Friday, 2:00-6:00; Saturday, 9:30am-5pm, Possibly Sunday
Location: TBA, Los Angeles/Beverly Hills
Contact: Christopher Meyer, PhD (323) 930-9662,
Fees: $180.00/students $60.00.

This course is approved by the Medical Board of California to train Research Psychoanalysts and by the California Psychological Association to provide Continuing Education Units for Licensed Psychologists. This course is approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences to provide Continuing Education Units for Marriage and Family Therapists and Psychiatric Social Workers. LSP maintains responsibility for this program and its content.