The Clinical Study Days 12 were held in Miami Beach from January 18th – 20th, 2019, in a beautiful room situated in one of the vintage buildings on the beach, as we have been doing for the last12 years, once in NY, and the following year in Miami.
The theme developed for this occasion was “The Psychoanalytic Subject in the Maze: Constructions in Analysis”, around the following Argument: The word construction is of course a common word, familiar to us all, and one that Freud appropriated for one of his final texts, “Constructions in Analysis.” In this text, Freud starts by drawing a distinction between interpretation — of some unconscious formation — and construction — of the repressed history of the patient. Freud also vacillates through the text on the status of the knowledge at stake in our work as psychoanalysts, ultimately ending at the point at which he states that the impactful use of a construction in a case, if held to with conviction by the analysand herself (and he offers one of his most elegant arguments in “Constructions” on how to assess the value of the intervention of the analyst), has the same value as the factual truth of the history of the analysand.
So, with Freud’s text in mind, as well as the two readings of “Constructions in Analysis” offered by Jacques-Alain Miller — “E=UWK” and “Marginalia to ‘Constructions in Analysis'”, we proposed the following questions that we would like cases to address:
What do we construct in our conduct of the psychoanalytic case? For Freud, it seems like something of a narrative, a narrative to tell the story of that which is repressed and not accessible to the analysand. Miller, in the classical psychoanalytical clinic of neurosis at least, points us in the direction of the object a (fundamental fantasy) or the signifier of the lack in the Other, S(A/), something to be constructed, we might say. In this case, are these mathemes constructed by the analysand or by the psychoanalyst? And, further, as Miller notes, Lacan really does not use this concept of construction much at all in his work, but proposes we view the Lacanian structure itself as a form of construction.
And what about psychosis, or at least classical or extraordinary psychosis? If knowledge, at least in the classical clinic, is supposed in a subject to whom the analysand addresses his suffering, in psychosis, the knowledge is held by the analysand himself. Can we not, thus, view the delusion itself, as articulated by the analysand, as the construction of the case, a part of the process of the cure, as Freud put it? And, indeed, several paragraphs of Freud’s “Constructions” are addressed to the relationship between delusion and construction. Do we find this in our cases?
But, in this moment of the aggiornamento of the Lacanian orientation, we find that our old diagnostic categories are not so useful, or even the concept of a diagnostic category itself. The blueprints, as it were, that we would take from case to case are no longer worth anything beyond the one construction for which they were first sketched. In this era of a singular practice, without universal rules, what now is the status of a construction? Is it the unique knotting of the sinthome that defines the construction of our time? Or — is it the way in which, following Miller’s work in Being and the One, we must cut through the Being of each speaking being to find that One that exists for each? Or, will our constructions be more like installations in the art world–not a permanent work in an established form, but unique and un-replicable, each one different in form from another? Certainly, one other approach might be to abandon construction itself in an era without rules, but is that even possible?
We also want to query the ways in which a construction develops in a case. How are these put together? How are they put into play in the sessions themselves? How do they drive the act of the analyst? We might further elaborate on the proposition that one of the main roles of supervision is the supervision of the construction of the case. How, in your cases, has supervision played a role in the construction of the case?
What about case presentations in our work together in a School? How do we articulate the work of a case presentation and the relationship of that to the construction of a case?
And, finally, with regard to pure psychoanalysis–what might we say about Miller’s recent work on the escabeau with regard to construction? Are our Testimonies not themselves construction documents, and the escabeau on which they are delivered not construction sites, in which the case is actively assembled before us? Well, if the Pass is the passage from analysand to analyst, can we look at the Pass Testimonies as the moment when analysand become analyst through the construction of their own case?
These were some of the questions that guided our preparation for the CSD12.
Our Guest Speakers were Angelina Harari (Sao paulo) (President of the WAP), Domenico Cosenza (Milan) (AE; President of the EuroFederation of Psychoanalysis), and Marie-Hélène Brousse (Paris), with whom we have been working very closely the past few years on the construction of Lacanian Compass, on this occasion she was presnt through video conference. The great absence was Pierre-Gilles Guéguen, past Delegate of the WAP Council for the USA, a position that has been retired now that Lacanian Compass is an associated group of the NLS. Guéguen was a great support in the construction of our group over the past 14 years.
We received 60 participants from different US cities: Miami, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, California, Missouri, Atlanta, Omaha, Washington, Orlando, and Seattle, and also from Toronto, Montreal, Brussels, Ghent, and Buenos Aires.
The program involved the presentation of three lectures by our Guest Speakers: the opening lecture by Angelina Harari, “To Arrange the Singular Disjunction. Constructions under Supervision;” Domenico Cosenza’s Testimony, “Another Breath;” and, Marie-Hélène Brousse’s video conference, “Construction and Deconstruction in the Treatment. A Logic of Extraction.” There were also thirteen cases presented and discussed and one conversation about the book Ellie Ragland is presently writing, discussed with Tom Svolos.
During the event, an animated conversation was held between the exponents and the audience, allowing a vivid elaboration on the theme “constructions” from theoretical perspectives and clinical uses.
Some months before the event and with the idea of preparing for the CSD12, six Flash Cartels on the subject of “Constructions” were created. These cartels produced thirteen papers, and we decided to organize an online, video conference Flash Cartel Presentation on January 13th, so as to start situating some of our questions and findings. These papers have been sent to Frank Rollier for the consideration of publishing them in 4+1, the cartels newsletter of the NLS.
The CSD12 was a special moment of intense work with our Guests and the colleaues of the Lacanian Compass US, as well as with numerous participants and new faces we welcome with great pleasure.